A revolutionary smart packaging solution that helps both manufacturers and retail of packaged food to reduce food waste is the main product of the start-up ColorSensing, a company associated with the Foodservice Cluster and born from a color 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, since it is enough to take a photograph using any camera, even with a smartphone, to know if the product is in correct condition, obtaining digital and traceable information in any link of the supply chain.
The solution is based on two technologies: on the one hand, inks that change color when reacting with the gases given off by the food are printed on a few pixels of the QR code; and, on the other hand, a patented algorithm is able to automatically measure the deterioration of the food from the color changes of these inks detected through photographs. The result is an affordable solution that provides quantitative information and allows to know the state of the food at every moment, being able to be customized to the needs of each manufacturer or retailer.
“The versatility and scalability of this technology is such that it allows ColorSensing to apply it to other attractive areas such as telemedicine or the digitization of test strips and rapid tests such as pregnancy, covid-19, etc.,” explains Jaume Amat, director of Rob Surgical, vice president of CataloniaBio & HealthTech and investor in the company. In fact, the company is already billing for some projects in this field.
Since its inception, ColorSensing has applied for a patent, which is already in national phases, and has raised more than €1.2 million in funding. They have also implemented a working prototype of the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for smart packaging, whose industrialization they are working on in order to carry out pilot tests with manufacturers who have already shown interest in the 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 to control the cold chain of packaged food and other refrigerated products, such as vaccines, antibiotics, etc.
Currently the company has opened a small investment round in advanced stage and is in talks with business angels in the sector with the aim of incorporating profiles that add value and knowledge before reaching the industrialization phase. The round is sized at 600,000 euros, of which 440,000 euros have been committed.