Label Takes Out The Squeeze

Published online: Dec 23, 2003
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A new label that allows consumers to see at a glance the freshness of a food product is about to take the squeeze out of the way consumers select their fruit in stores.

The labels, created in New Zealand, change color to show the ripeness of a piece of fruit.

The designers say it could lead to packaging that gives buyers instant messages.

Called ripeSense, the color change is driven by detecting aroma compounds given off the fruit as it ripens, changing the label through a range of vibrant colors.

The first fruit it has been used with are Green Anjou pears because pears need to soften before they achieve their maximum flavor.

A clamshell pack, molded to the shape of the pears, was developed to trap the aroma necessary for RipeSense to function.

It also protects them from crushing and bruising, permitting retailers to sell tender juicy ripe fruit without wastage.

The government HortResearch Institute said there is nothing else in the world that measure ripeness this way. More research is planned to develop sensor labels for kiwifruit, avocados and melons.