Supply Scan

News from across the food supply chain.

Color-changing Labels Detect Food Freshness

UK-based Insignia Technologies will soon launch their latest color-changing labels, which are aimed at decreasing food waste and boosting food safety. Their first product, set to launch this spring in the UK, is the Novas Embedded Label. The color-changing label, which is integrated into the food packaging film, is triggered when the package is opened and exposed to carbon dioxide. With the timer activated, the consumer knows how long a package has been opened.

“Our color-changing labels will give a clear indication as to how long the packet has been opened and if it’s still fit for consumption,” says Stephen Currie, chief operating officer of Insignia Technologies.

Once Insignia Technologies completes their launch phase within the UK market, the U.S. will be its next priority.

“We’ve been over to America three times in the past year and have started to build solid relationships with several of the leading retailers as well as a few of the branded food manufacturers,” notes Currie. “We are very keen to further develop additional relationships with key players within the American food industry.”

Insignia Technologies has plans to roll out their products to the rest of the UK market, then will focus on the U.S., Germany and France.


Tighter Safety Regulations for Kenya-EU Food Shipments

As of January, exports of food products from Kenya to the EU will face more stringent safety checks. Specifically, new regulations from Kenya’s Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA), which became effective on January 1, 2013, require all exporters of vegetables to the EU to provide details as to the safety of their produce.

According to the notice: “All exporters of beans and peas including French beans, runner beans, sugar snaps, snow peas and garden peas are required to fill the common entry document Annex II in line with new EU requirements.”

The move comes on the heels of the EU’s efforts to stems harmful elements in produce, particularly Aflatoxins, pesticide residues and metals such as lead. Meanwhile, tighter pesticide regulations in recent years have threatened to curtail Kenya’s export growth.


Terra Technology Unveils Sustainability Calculator

Terra Technology has introduced an online Sustainability Calculator designed to help manufacturers determine the environmental impact of reducing excess stocks through better demand prediction and inventory optimization.

According to the company, “Carbon and water embodied in the estimated $8 trillion of global inventory is the equivalent of roughly 11 percent of the total annual global carbon emissions and 40 percent of global water use.” Although some inventory is necessary, excessive inventory resulting from forecasting errors creates huge environmental and financial burdens.

“Cutting inventory eliminates carbon emissions and water use from many parts of the product lifecycle, including manufacturing, raw materials, packaging and distribution. For most companies, manufacturing represents less than 10 percent of the total life cycle footprint, so achieving truly impactful reduction requires that sustainability programs reach beyond factory walls. Moreover, manufacturers that depend on agriculture or livestock for production are more likely to find that raw materials account for 80 to 90 percent of their total footprint,” the company stated in a press release.

The Sustainability Calculator is available at


McDonald’s Uses QR Codes to Highlight Nutritional Info

McDonald’s has updated packaging for its carryout bags and fountain beverage cups with QR codes that communicate “brand stories” and provide nutritional information and other facts to consumers.

“Our new packaging is designed to engage with customers in relevant ways and celebrate our brand,” says Kevin Newell, chief brand officer for Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s. “Customers tell us they want to know more about the food they are eating and we want to make that as easy as possible by putting this information right at their fingertips.”

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