ColorSensing, a smart packaging solution to reduce food waste
A revolutionary smart packaging solution that helps both packaged food manufacturers and retailers reduce food waste is the flagship product of the start-up ColorSensing, a company born out of a colour-correction technology devised at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona in 2018. The product consists of a QR code-shaped label that monitors the freshness of packaged food. The operation is very simple, as all it needs is a picture taken using any camera, even a smartphone, to find out if the product is in good condition, while obtaining digital information that can be traced at any point in the supply chain.
This solution is based on two technologies: on the one hand, inks that change colour when reacting with the gases given off by the food are printed on a few pixels of the QR code; on the other hand, a patented algorithm is able to automatically measure the deterioration of the food from the colour changes of these inks detected through pictures. The result is a cost-effective solution that provides quantitative information on the condition of the food at any given moment, and can be customised to the needs of each manufacturer and retailer.
“The versatility and scalability of this technology is such that it allows ColorSensing to apply it to other interesting fields such as telemedicine and the digitisation of test strips and rapid tests such as pregnancy tests, Covid-19 tests, and so on,” explains Jaume Amat, director of Rob Surgical, vice-president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech and investor in the company. In fact, the company is already making a turnover thanks to some projects in this field.
Since its inception, ColorSensing has applied for a patent, which is already in the national phases, and has raised more than €1.2 million in funding. They have also implemented a working prototype of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for smart packaging, on whose industrialisation they are working in order to carry out pilot tests with manufacturers who have already shown interest in this solution. In addition, with the support of a major multinational in the food packaging sector, the company has started to develop a new ink for its label that monitors the cold chain of packaged food and other refrigerated products, such as vaccines, antibiotics, etc.
Currently, the company has a small investment round open at an advanced stage and is in talks with business angels in the sector with the aim of incorporating professionals who can add value and know-how before reaching the industrialisation phase. The round is worth €600,000, €440,000 of which are already secured.