Arla Foods, UK, began consumer testing of a new indicator, that when added to product packaging, could tell the consumer when the product is beginning to expire.

The packaging innovation, developed by UK start-up company Mimica, provides a tactile indication of food spoilage. When the label is smooth, the food is fresh; when bumps can be felt on the label, it is no longer safe to eat.  

“We’re hoping that consumer research will suggest this should go to a wider trial,” says Tomas Pietrangeli, managing director for Arla Foods UK. “Mimica’s indicators are truly innovative and could not only help reduce food waste, but also help those with visual impairments identify, through touch, when food is no longer safe to eat.”

The indicator, known as Mimica Touch, works by reacting to changes in the packaged food and to temperature changes. This results in a breakdown of the gelatine layer, which turns the surface from smooth to bumpy.

 "We are really excited to be working so closely with a highly innovative organization like Arla to bring accurate food spoilage information to consumers to provide peace of mind and the confidence to use food for longer. It's important to Mimica that we work with companies that share our social values and vision," adds Solveiga Pakštaitė, founder and director of Mimica. 

The Mimica Touch initiative came about through the Scale-Up Denmark’s Centre for Food program, which partners smaller/start-up companies in food innovation with companies to invest in and provide support.  

Mimica has been working with scientists at Arla’s Innovation Center, which opened last year. The next stage is consumer research, which will see what UK consumers think of the product. This will be taking place in the UK, and if successful, could lead to an in-store trial in a UK retailer.