An innovative ‘smart’ label, which indicates the ripeness of fruit, has been developed in New Zealand. Scientists at New Zealand HortResearch developed the technology, along with label manufacturer the Jenkins Group, over five years.
The ‘ripeSense’ label, initially developed for pears, detects aroma compounds given off as the fruit ripens, and changes colour to indicate the level of ripeness. Work is now under way to extend the system to cover summerfruit, kiwi, avocado and melon.
The project was given a boost with a $96,000 investment from Technology New Zealand to help with commercial development of the label. Trials have been conducted, throughout September, in three Progressive Enterprise stores in the Auckland area and the label is now under trial in Portland supermarkets in the US.