Food Innovation: A Self Heating Chinese Food Container which fights Corona in Japan and detects Food quality in UK

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What if food containers could cook food, fight corona tell you in real time if your food has gone bad? Wondering how? Well, maybe it’s a cliché but Necessity is the mother of invention.

UK Startup BlakBear is making a food labels detecting life of your food

This startup has developed a set of smart food labels to determine food freshness. The labels do this via an embedded sensor that detects the ammonia levels being produced by the food.

The smart labeling developed by BlakBear has two electrodes printed on it as well as an embedded RFID chip. As food spoils, ammonia is released and the gas is “absorbed into the paper’s cellulose fibers and then dissociates into ions. The electrodes sense and measure the ionic conductivity present in the layer of water that is already naturally present in the paper’s fibers to determine the shelf life of the product.

Most of us can detect food spoilage by smelling the ammonia emitted as food decomposes, but by the time that happens, it’s usually too late to save the item. According to one of the company’s founders, BlakBear’s sensors are up to 100 times more sensitive than the human nose when it comes to detecting spoilage.

BlakBear is also interested in bringing this type of technology into the home, only instead of building into an appliance, they are working on a smart food container. The company is creating a system called HoneyBox that incorporates the freshness sensor and then communicates with an app via Bluetooth. The device will send reminders and act as a countdown clock on long the food will be edible.

While BlakBear isn’t saying when the product will be into market, the company is currently evaluating consumer attitudes around potential features and pricing for HoneyBox.
There’s a huge opportunity for better food management systems that can help us reduce food waste. Why food storage has been stuck in time.

The Pandemic Made Self-Heating Instant Food Hot in China

Self-heating meals are pretty much what you think they are. Special packaging allows water to mix with powdered chemicals like magnesium and iron to create an exothermic reaction with the resulting steam heating the meal.

The pandemic has seen sales of self-heating foods in China surge. Between late January and early February 2020, when the virus caused peak infections and China went into lockdown, sales of self-heating foods experienced the second-highest growth of all categories, year over year, according to Taobao, China’s largest online retailer. Sales of self-heating rice alone grew by 257%. They have enabled consumers to enjoy fuss-free dishes/hotpots/meals while restaurants were closed.

Though these self-heating foods have a higher price point, they continue to be embraced by Chinese consumers. This type of self-heating technology is also attractive to brands.

Hot pot chain HaiDiLao has its own line of self-heating packaged meals that offer an attractive alternative for consumers who can’t afford to eat at the actual restaurants more often. In the states from HeatGen, which uses chemical reactions for self-heating cans being used by La Colombe for individual servings of hot coffee on-the-go.

A Railway Lunchbox Company in Japan Reinvents Its Packaging to Fight Coronavirus

Not all food tech needs to be high tech when it comes to creating novel solutions that aid against coronavirus infections. Awajiya, a Kobe, Japan-based Company that delivers meals to railway stations, announced last week it had developed new packaging for its bento box meals aimed at shielding customers from potential infections.

When folded according to the instructions, Awajiya’s lunchbox creates a three-sided shield-like structure around the box that can keep any airborne droplets from nearby people out of the food. It also guards against the eater’s own germs from spreading to others. Awajiya says the box is the same size as a regular bento box, making it easy to use on trains.

A New Beginning

A simple lunchbox may not stop coronavirus in its tracks, but its incremental developments like these, when working together, can go great distances to keep the world’s population a little safer. This might be the next big innovation for F&B Industry. Your delicious food cooked at your favorite restaurant, and delivered in a self-heating container which is safe to eat and fights corona as well.