A Barcode That Recedes With a Veggie’s Freshness

by , 03/19/10

fresh code, receding barcode, produce freshness, fresh food indicators, supermarket barcodes

Walking through the produce aisle shouldn’t be as mysterious as the ingredients on the back of a bag of Cheetos, but sometimes picking out fresh produce can be a befuddling task even for the most seasoned herbivore. Fresh Code, by designers Sisi Yuan, Yiwu Qiu, Lei Zhao, Qiulei Huang, Lijun Zhang & Weihang Shu is a straightforward solution developed as an intelligent barcode not only able to price an item, but also indicate the freshness level of the produce on which it’s affixed. Each bar code uses a special ink that recedes in correlation with passing time and a percentage graph indicating the remaining life of the veggie at hand. So is it time to cook it or compost it? This cabbage looks like it’s on its way out!

Via Yanko Design

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  1. metis March 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    interesting…. i don’t see this as useful for produce per se, but for things that can be a bit worse if they go bad.

    most foods will last quite a while if stored properly. if say it sits on a loading dock in the sun for an hour or three between the truck and cooler at the grocer or warehouse that can dramatically reduce it’s shelf life, increasing waste. in that case, the milk on the sun side of the pallet might be bad, but the core ok.

    in effect you could have a temp and condition sensor for each item. say it ever goes over X temp one box ticks off, or if it’s over y temp for Z duration another box fades. your milk might be good for weeks instead of the few days that the date which is a worst case scenario represents.

  2. raudakind March 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

    This is a horrible invention. Down with planned obsolescence.

  3. geoffstanley March 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I have to disagree… there is a dark side to this idea.

    What will happen is shoppers will consistently pick the freshest cabbage and the slightly older ones will always be overlooked. They will get older and older and eventually get tossed. With luck the dumpster diving community can recover them, but not always. And for what? When they were first put out, the cabbage that was a microsecond older is still good for you, but you wouldn’t choose it and it will die!

    (Yes, I am anthropomorphizing the cabbages!)

  4. kamakiri March 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Isn’t this more likely to lead to food wastage? Apart from the fact that it’s a picture of a cabbage where’s the green element here exactly?

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