Vorkoster is a smart lid that uses PH-sensitive film to detect if a food product has expired. The film gradually changes colour as the food product begins to spoil, making it easy to see whether it’s still edible.
This can provide an accurate indication of food freshness so that people don’t have to rely on generic expiry dates, which can lead to food being thrown out unnecessarily.
It works with protein-based food like meat and fish
“Over 60 per cent of food waste happens in households. That is not just food, but also money wasted,” said Amir-Moazami, speaking to the exhibition organisers.
“I wanted to create something that can help people to save food, either for sustainability or financial reasons.”
PH-sensitive film changes colour to indicate when food is expiring. Photo is by Anouk Moerman
The lid was designed for use with any food containing protein, such as meat or fish. As these items expire, they release ammonia gas.
The film, which is made from algae coated in a specially developed indicator dye, reacts to this gas by changing colour from pale green to bright purple.
The lid was designed to fit over any type of tub or bowl, to make it as easy to use as possible.
“By designing a lid, the use of my product stays flexible and is not limited to one type of container,” said Amir-Moazami.
Kimia Amir-Moazami first developed the design as a student at UdK Berlin. Photo is by Anouk Moerman
The designer produced her first working prototype of Vorkoster in 2021, as her graduation project from the design degree programme at UdK Berlin.
This was developed with the help of Sany Chea, a chemistry scientist she met during a residency at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research.
Since then, the pair have been developing the concept with a view to launching Vorkoster as a commercial product.
The film used in the lid is made from algae. Photo is by Anouk Moerman
They believe the product could hit the shelves in the next two years.
“The challenge with Vorkoster is that it is a product that deals with food quality and expiry dates,” said Amir-Moazami.
“This is a sensitive topic, so the technology needs to be developed to a point that it’s truly consumer-friendly, safe and clear. Before we can go to market, it needs to function flawlessly.”
A coating applied to the film causes it to change colour when it comes into contact with ammonia. Photo is by Anouk Moerman
In the past two years, Amir-Moazami and Chea have participated in a series of entrepreneur and scholarship programmes to help them fund the project’s development.
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