Keep-it shelf life indicators monitor the freshness of perishable products, thus reducing food waste and the risk of foodborne illness.
Temperature-sensitive merchandise such as animal products and pharmaceuticals rely on cold storage. The limit for freshness and safety is based on “degree days” – a formula for shelf life based on cumulative temperature over time. If a food product has a shelf life of 12 days at 4 ℃, its longevity will be altered if it is kept above or below this temperature.
Most systems for monitoring transport and storage temperatures are insufficient. Deviations will not be reflected in the “use by” date on the package. This results in intact products being unnecessarily discarded – with at least 70 per cent of food waste taking place at the household level. Meanwhile, improperly stored products put consumers at risk for foodborne illnesses.
The Keep-it® shelf life indicator shows the actual remaining shelf life of temperature-sensitive products like fresh fish, poultry and red meat. The non-toxic, recyclable indicator is affixed to the packaging of perishable foods at the production site.
The countdown device displays remaining shelf life days – from production to grocery shelves to consumers’ homes. This enables both supermarket staff and consumers to be correctly informed about a product’s safety and longevity.
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption — approximately 1.3 billion metric tons per year — is lost or wasted. This corresponds to a loss of roughly USD 680 billion in industrialised countries and USD 310 billion in developing countries. Much of the waste is a result of temperature deviations during storage and transportation.
For products like minced beef, the Keep-it® shelf life indicator has demonstrated up to 60 per cent reduction in food waste. This corresponds to a significant reduction in feedlots, land, water and greenhouse gas emissions for every kilogram produced.
Keep-it® shelf life indicators are used to monitor food safety in supermarkets, home grocery deliveries and hospitals throughout Norway, and are anticipated to revolutionise the export of fresh fish across Europe. In addition to its benefits in grocery distribution, the indicator can be used for quality control of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals such as insulin and vaccines.
Keep-it Technologies is a participant in Safeconsume, a project funded under Horizon 2020 with the objective of reducing health burden from foodborne illnesses.