Resource Efficient Innovations Database (REID)

Smart labels indicate product shelf life

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Smart labels indicate product shelf life
Innovative labels change colour to inform consumers of product shelf life.
In Use – Currently being trialled with manufacturers and retailers in the UK, with a full launch anticiapted for 2012.

Product Waste Reduction

Product Categories

Relevant Materials
Not Applicable

Relevant Packaging Formats

Supply Chain Phase
Consumer, Storage


The manufacturer of this technology has created a label which is applied at the end of the packaging process in the same way as a tamper proof label is applied.  The label is activated when the pack is opened and thereafter it changes colour from green to red over a period of 1-4 weeks.  At the end of the time period the label displays a red square to indicate that the product is not safe to consume.
The company experimented with electronic indicators and hybrid electronic and chemical indicators before settling on a purely chemical indicator.  The resulting label is not affected by variations of temperature such as would be experienced in domestic refrigeration.
The new product was developed in the UK by UWI Label.
The content in this entry has been obtained from publicly available information sources only (e.g. press releases, website and trade press articles) and is subject to completion of a validation process with the technology supplier.

Potential Benefits

Food wastage in the home is a major issue. In many cases, food is thrown away even though it would still be okay to consume. This technology can help consumers to be more aware of how long packs in the home have been open, and therefore reduce unnecessary food wastage.

Intellectual Property

The new range of intelligent labels has been developed by UWI Labels in the UK.

Consultant View

The manufacturer of the indicator label states that the cost is a few pence per item.  This is important as manufacturers will be reluctant to increase product costs by a significant amount unless there is a resulting and demonstable benefit which consumers are willing to pay a premium for.
Reviewers may wish to consult the REID database for other examples of food quality indicators using the search term "Indicators".

Contacts and Further Information

Pete Higgins
UWI Technology Limited
Lochside House
3 Lochside Way
Edinburgh Park
EH12 9DT
Tel: 0131 452 2021

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