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Tactile Smart Packaging Innovation Wins Award

From Packaging Europe

Solveiga Pakstaite of the UK’s Brunel University has won the UK leg of the James Dyson Award for her bio-reactive tactile ‘Bump Mark’ label, an innovation aiming to help combat food waste. The concept provides real-time food expiry information which could complement or replace traditional best-before dates.

Solveiga devised a label which contains a layer filled with gelatine, covering rigid bumps beneath. “Since the jelly is solid when it sets, the bumps cannot initially be felt,” Solveiga told Packaging Europe. “However, as the gelatine decays, it becomes a liquid, which means a consumer pressing the label can feel the bumps.”

Being a protein similar to meats, milk and cheese, gelatine ‘expires’ at a similar rate to perishable packaged foods. Moreover, as Solveiga pointed out, the pace of the gel’s decay can be manipulated to match that of the contents of the package by altering the concentration: “The higher the concentration of gelatine, the longer it will remain solid.”

“From my research interviews, I discovered that blind people often found it hard to work out whether their food had expired. But as I worked on the concept, I realised that the Bump Mark could be of use to sighted people too, as the arbitrary best-before date does not always reflect the condition of the food or drink. The Bump Mark label, incorporated into the layers of packaging so that it faces the same environmental conditions as the product, simply copies what the food in the package is doing, giving a far more accurate indicator than a printed date.”

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