Helmholtz Association, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Is it fresh develops disposable IoT solutions for food freshness. The company’s key product is an ultra-low-cost sensor technology: a ‘freshtag’ that can measure food quality parameters such as pH, oxygen content, or salinity at any given time. Food waste is generated at all stages of the food value chain, and every year 1.3 billion tons of edible food is thrown away. By making food packaging smart, is it fresh aims to become a key player in the global fight against food waste. By using advanced nanofunctional materials and emerging additive manufacturing methods for printed electronics, freshtags make it possible to digitise and trace each individual piece of packaging.
The freshtag can be integrated into any type of food packaging and features wireless connectivity and cloud data storage. What makes is it fresh special is the very low cost of production. The total amount of materials used for each individual freshtag only amounts to approximately 1 µg. Coupled with roll-to-roll mass manufacturing methods, the fabrication cost of a device can be brought down to 1 cent, rendering it suitable for applications in disposable packaging. At the same time, the device delivers a unique ID to each package, replacing and enhancing a barcode or QR code and enabling digitisation on a mass scale. Enabling real-time, in-package freshness and quality controls, the freshtag technology could have an enormous impact on the reduction of the global amount of food waste.