Smart food technology: Dynamic Time-Temperature Indicators (TTI) to reduce food waste across the EU

Static date marking contributes to unnecessary food waste. Keep-it, HelloFresh, and Zebra gather stakeholders and EU representatives at a conference on how smart technologies and time-temperature indicators can drastically reduce food waste in the EU on May 11.

Around 88 million tons of food waste are generated annually in the EU. A study carried out by the European Commission estimates that up to 10 per cent of food waste is linked to date marking. Wasting food is an ethical and economic problem that drains the ecosystem of limited natural resources. Moving away from static date marking will save food and money and lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption.

On May 11, we gather stakeholders and EU representatives to join a conference on how time-temperature indicators, the so-called TTI, can drastically reduce food waste in the EU. The aim is for TTI to be granted market access on equal terms as static date marking.

Perishable food products edible after the set date marking

After many decades of use of static date marking, very little innovation has happened until now. More than 80 per cent of the food wasted at the grocery level is still edible but is thrown away due to today’s practice in the EU of using static date marking. Smart technologies, such as TTI, show actual shelf life based on time and temperature and dramatically decrease the food waste issue; the Keep-it indicator's content is specifically tailored to different fresh food products and simulates how the product’s actual remaining shelf life is reduced over time. It will move faster when the product is stored warm than when the food is kept cold.

Rema 1000, one of Norway’s biggest supermarkets, has already used Keep-it for several years in addition to date marking since it adds food safety and quality control beyond the traditional date marking. According to their experiences, our Keep-it indicator has helped to reduce the food waste of selected fresh products from 25 to 59 per cent.

More EU countries should follow the Netherlands

Softening the food marking regulative is needed to release TTI food waste reduction potential in the EU. Today, the Netherlands is the only EU country to allow TTI to replace date marking on food products.

We hope a joint discussion on the importance of market entry for new and smart technologies on May 11 will positively influence a needed change of the EU date marking directives and that other EU countries will follow the Netherland’s example.

The Keep-it indicator shows the actual shelf life of fresh food, and helps you make smart choices every day. This is how.