North East entrepreneur and Sunderland grads set to transform future of food packaging labels
A local businessman has revealed a new edible and scannable code for food items.
People will be able to use their phones to scan the code on the food product, which will bring up the item’s origins, production, ingredients, how to recycle it and even recipes.
Label Says Ltd has created the edible ink code which can be printed and added directly onto all types of food like fish, fruit, vegetables, baked goods, drinks and meat.
The information is accessible when each product is scanned by the app, providing an augmented reality experience that will enable customers to learn more about the product they’re buying and save on food packaging.
North East entrepreneur Peter Woods is the brainchild behind the code, which has been developed in collaboration with the University of Sunderland. It has been supported by funding through the GX project, a two-year business innovation programme part of 2018’s Great Exhibition of the North.
It is also part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by NewcastleGateshead Initiative (NGI), in partnership with the Innovation SuperNetwork.
University of Sunderland graduates Daniel Almond and Dominic Hutchinson - alongside associate professor Derek Watson, who has food sector and quality standards knowledge - have all helped Peter design and develop the app, which will provide codes for the food industry from farmers to supermarkets.
Peter said: “I am delighted to be working with the University of Sunderland, it’s a great collaboration between a startup SME and the university. I have really been impressed by the quality of support I have been given.
“The way we buy our food will drastically change in the coming years. Climate change, as well as the demand from customers, is driving supermarkets and other food providers to drastically reduce their packaging.
“The application we have developed enables customers to get the relevant information they need about nutrition, sourcing allergies and how to dispose of any waste, without the need for excessive packing. Ultimately it is better for the customer, the food supplier and our planet.”
Dominic, 22, from Sunderland, who graduated in July with a degree in games development helped design the software behind the app.
He explained: “My final-year dissertation was based around augmented reality and gamified software, so this project fitted perfectly with what I’d been learning during my degree. It’s been a fantastic opportunity and hopefully enhanced my future prospects.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland-born Daniel, 21, who graduated from animation and games art, added: “My university course made working in this area so much easier and demonstrates how far we have come. It’s been fantastic working on the project with such driven colleagues.”
The collaboration between Peter and the university has ensured the product meets the food quality standards framework, is environmentally friendly and creates potential for future company growth and employment.