Okay, I know I bang on about food waste – a lot. But it’s an important subject and one that I’m passionate about. Here at Nina & Co., we’re loving this ingenious solution which will help reduce the amount of food that’s thrown away unnecessarily.
So what are ‘Bump Marks’? Not the best name in the world, I’ll admit. They sound more like some sort of contagious disease or by product of pregnancy instead of an ingenious food safety invention…
Bump Marks are the brain child of 22 year old industrial design and technology graduate, Solveiga Pakstaite. She was researching into transport for visually impaired people when she started to wonder how blind people cope with sell-by dates. As we all know, they’re complicated enough when you can see them, let alone for someone with impaired vision.
Some pharmaceutical companies and household cleaning product manufacturers use Braille labels on their packaging, but I’ve yet to see sell-by or best-before dates written in Braille.
And of course, not all visually impaired people can read Braille. It takes months to learn. What about elderly people with failing eyesight? Braille is hard for them to learn because their fingertips aren’t sensitive enough. What about people with reading difficulties like dyslexia? So that’s why we think these bumps are a brilliant idea. They’re user-friendly – for everyone!
There is huge confusion between ‘sell-by’, ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates. As a result, food which is perfectly good is thrown away when it’s still safe to eat.
‘Use by’ and ‘best before’ dates are unreliable. How you store the food will affect its life expectancy. Obviously, unrefrigerated food will deteriorate faster than food stored in a fridge. But how long did that food sit in a warm car while you did the rest of your shopping? Did you unpack it immediately when you brought your shopping home, or did it sit in the hall near a radiator while you prepared dinner? Was it left out of the fridge by mistake? These are everyday events which help make the dating system ineffective.
By comparison, the bump system is simple and takes all these factors into account.
How Bump Marks work
Without going into technical detail, the packaging bump is a piece of plastic with small bumps on the surface. Over this is a layer of gelatine. When it’s fresh the gelatine is set so you can’t feel the lumps in the plastic below it. But gelatine liquefies as it starts to decompose and once it becomes liquid, you can feel the bumps. The food breaks down at the same rate as the gelatine so there’s no mistake about whether it’s safe to eat or not.
This ingenious concept is still in the early stages of development, but watch this space. Bump Marks could be the food wastage answer we’ve all been waiting for.