Much is being written about Sainsbury’s introduction of intelligent packaging for sliced ham in the UK. According to an article in Sustainable Brands, “The label works by changing color from yellow to purple the longer the package has been open, indicating the freshness — and the edibility — of the product inside. The rate of change is largely dependent on refrigerator temperature.”
The piece then says, “We’ve all been there; when we’ve found a pack of ham loitering on the bottom shelf of the fridge and can’t remember how long it’s been opened for. We want to find a way to reduce waste of this family favorite while helping customers save money,” said Jane Skelton, head of packaging at Sainsbury’s.
Here’s the Rub
If the package of ham that’s loitering on the bottom of the shelf has a label that indicates the food is no longer edible, I’m going to throw it out. That’s wasted food.
If the label indicates that the ham is still edible, I’m probably going to leave it in the bottom of the fridge. However, once the label indicates that it’s no longer good, I’m going to throw it out.
And, if the label tells me it may or may not be good, guess what? I’m not going to risk serving it to my family, and I’m going to throw it out.
Here’s the Irony
Rather than reminding me to eat the ham while it’s still fresh, the smart package will most likely facilitate my decision to throw it away.
Here’s an Idea
Wouldn’t it be more intelligent for people to buy perishables in quantities which ensure they will eat them soon after bringing them home? Isn’t that better than letting them languish at the bottom of the fridge?
What do YOU think?