Solveiga Pakstaite– recent winner of the Mayor Of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur award – is addressing our chronic food waste problem in a unique way.
We all know that best before dates are massively unreliable – leading to supermarkets throwing out tonnes of food which is clearly fine. That’s why Solveiga has invented packaging that actually knows when food has gone bad.
How does it work? Solveiga explains that “the label has gelatine inside it which is smooth to the touch when the food it's labelling is fresh, but when you start to feel bumps, it's time for the bin”
The packaging – called Bump Mark – was developed during Solveiga’s final major project as a design undergraduate in Brunel University. The idea emerged while investigating ways of creating packaging for the visually impaired, but soon discovered that the methods she was exploring could resulting wider benefits – resulting in labelling which could accurately tell you the freshness of foods.
“I looked at different properties of materials that will help achieve this texture change”, she explains, “and realised that using gelatine would work because I can calibrate it to go bad at the same rate as different foods”.
If rolled out across supermarkets, Bump Mark would have a massive impact on the shelf life of food, with the potential to make massive savings of food waste. Solveiga recognises that this would take money and strong legislation, but she hopes to see it become a reality one day.
Being named the Mayor Of London Low Carbon Entrepreneur is certainly a step in the right direction.Across the UK, thousands of students are taking action on food waste, often through projects which reclaim surplus food. But so often, this surplus is created because of the disconnection between best before dates and when food has actually gone off.
Solveiga’s Bump Mark – a truly remarkable undergraduate design project - could change that forever. It might even become the greatest leap forward in the fight against food waste in years.