Dynamic ”best before” dates

It is estimated that a third of all food in the EU is discarded. A major reason for this is the static ”best before” date that both consumers and actors in the food supply chain use when accepting or rejecting a product. To address this, the DynahMat project has developed a concept that enables dynamic shelf-life prediction.

This article was originally published in the IOTAP 2016 brochure.

Sensor on chicken

Temperature data from the sensor is transmitted to a cloud solution via a smartphone, enabling a dynamic prediction of the remaining shelf life of the product.

The DynahMat concept entails an infrastructure for sensors that when attached to a food product provides data (such as temperature and geographical position) to a cloud-based information system. The sensor data is then processed by prediction models to estimate the remaining shelf life, which is made available to the supply chain actors, as well as consumers, who can then make more informed decisions whether to accept or reject a product.

A grand challenge is to create an infrastructure that can be used by all actors in the food supply chain, who often use diverse (and incompatible) sensor and communication solutions. DynahMat thus developed a concept for an open system that enables the integration and interconnection of diverse systems.

Åse Jevinger, who is one of the researchers in the project, says: “With an industry-wide effort based on DynahMat, a new paradigm for the entire food industry could be made possible. It would be built on digitalization and accurate and accessible data, which could reduce food waste and improve efficiency in the food supply chains. If this is done collaboratively among all food chain actors, including the customers, we may help promote a more sustainable food situation.”

This work was partially financed by Vinnova within the Tvärlivs program. The DynahMat project is a collaboration with Lund University and SP together with 20 actors in the food supply chain, as well as a number of ICT companies.

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