Senoptica Technologies, a deep-tech packaging sensor technology company based in Ireland, has created a new sensor to monitor the condition of packaged, perishable food products using a food-safe ink that can be printed directly onto the inside of the packaging, it says. The patented sensor measures the oxygen level inside modified atmosphere food packs in real-time.
The company is a spin-out company from Trinity College, Dublin and is on a mission to help halve food waste by 2030 on fresh packaged foods. The technology at its core is a novel packaging sensor that can measure the atmosphere surrounding the food in fresh food packs. The sensor can indicate the condition of the food in real time and help to avoid good food being thrown away, according to the company.
As the sensor is formed from a food-safe ink, it can printed directly onto the food packaging. The illumination of the active materials in the food-safe ink enables the sensor to measure the oxygen inside the food packaging in real-time, avoiding the disposal of still-edible products. The ink can also be printed onto labels for manual application and allow oxygen measurement in real-time.
Over the last two years, the company has successfully produced the deep-tech solution at industrial scale and achieved a clean bill of health in independent food safety testing. It is presently piloting the technology with a renowned global Retailer and a large European food company.
Senoptica is in the process of raising a total of €1.5m in convertible debt, with a first close of €550k. This latest funding round will enable the company to achieve regulatory approval, complete the retailer pilot and make first sales, it believes. The round is being led by existing investors and Enterprise Ireland will also participate.
“We are delighted to make this first close on our €1.5m bridging round, particularly given the difficult funding environment at present” says Brendan Rice, CEO & co-founder of Senoptica. “This funding will enable us to complete the final hard yards of our pre-revenue journey and help us get to first sales. The climate emergency needs technologies like ours to get to market as quickly as possible to mitigate the effects of climate change. We are excited to be playing our part in solving one of the greatest challenges facing the world today.”
The technology is designed to work on the packaging that over half of the world’s fresh food is packed in, it claims. Research indicates food waste associated with this type of packaging is costing global Retailers over €27bn per year in lost sales and contributing massively to their scope three emissions.
Started in 2018, Senoptica expects to have regulatory approval by the end of this year and aims to launch the technology in Q2 2024. Currently with four staff, it plans to create an additional fifteen jobs over the next two years. It is a FoodTech 500™ company, which is the world’s first definitive list of global entrepreneurial talent at the intersection between food, technology, and sustainability.
This article was created in collaboration with AIPIA (the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association). For a full update on active and intelligent packaging, come along to the AIPIA World Congress (co-organized by Packaging Europe) in Amsterdam on 14-15 November. The only smart packaging event covering the entire technology spectrum, the World Congress is a meeting place for the global active and intelligent packaging industry where brand owners, innovators, and other stakeholders can network and see and discuss the latest trends and innovations. Register to attend here.