UK Politics

Food that texts 'eat me' could be on way, minister told

Fridge contents Image copyright Science Photo Library

The development of food packaging that texts consumers to let them know when its contents are going off has left a junior environment minster "intrigued".

At a hearing of a committee of peers examining how to minimise food waste, Dan Rogerson heard that computer chips might be used in future to assess whether food was passing its prime.

This could be more efficient than expiry dates, which do not account for the food's storage temperatures.

"Chips for chips," Mr Rogerson mused.

"I should be intrigued to know the range and amount of resource that would have to go into producing it."

Committee chair and fellow Lib Dem Baroness Scott of Needham Market had told the minister that one witness giving evidence to the committee in the Netherlands said: "We're quite close to commercial production of a small chip which would go into packaging which would measure the actual deterioration of the rate of food."

She explained that the current convention of the best before date "just assumes that everything's equal; it just assumes that you all keep your food at the same temperature whereas this would actually respond to what the real conditions are".

The computer chip could even "send you a text to tell you that it needed eating", she said.

Lady Scott concluded: "I'm having enough trouble with my text messages without the fridge texting me.

"Realistic or not, it's interesting to see where innovation can lead."

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