The case has been proven for RFID in retail when it comes to improving inventory accuracy and eliminating out of stocks. While the technology helps apparel retailers to keep products on store shelves and increases sales, the real value of RFID in retail could very well be in food safety and food spoilage.
The VTT Technical Research Center of Finland has developed an RFID-based sensor that detects ethanol within food packaging and could help to control and eliminate illnesses from consuming spoiled food. The presence of ethanol is one of the first signs of food spoilage. The solution is likely to be first targeted to fresh cut fruit and vegetables.
VTT Technical Research Center is currently seeking a technology partner to help it commercialize the solution.
By utilizing the RFID sensor, manufacturers and retailers will be able to better control food quality throughout the supply chain and to prevent waste caused by spoilage. More than 100 tons of food products are wasted annually in Europe, and the amount is expected to rise to 126 million tons by 2020 unless a solution in place.
The data contained on the RFID tag could be read wirelessly using an RFID reader or even a smart phone, allowing retailers and even consumers to gauge a product’s freshness before purchasing.
Freshness data can be stored in real time in the cloud, enabling the comparison of food quality as it passes through the supply chain, and potentially the ability to pinpoint the exact location that produce was damaged within the supply chain.