Food that is still good to eat, is often thrown out prematurely, contributing to systemic food waste. In fact, food worth 143 billion EUR is discarded every year in the European Union alone.
To solve this problem, tsenso, a startup from our 2015 hospitality program, developed FreshIndex, a cloud solution that tracks food products from producer-to-consumer and has tested it together with METRO. In its current stage, the solution is able to monitor, hygienic, logistic and storage temperature conditions.
“Without the Accelerator and without the personal contact to the right people from METRO, this project would have never been possible. We were equally impressed with the determination of METRO to implement and test our product.” – Matthias Brunner
The software tracks products along the cool chain and collects hygiene- & sensor- data from point A to point B. An algorithm then applies a microbiological food model to produce an indication of how fresh a product is in real-time.
More specifically, the FreshIndex calculates a product’s DHD (dynamic best before date) and its DCL (dynamic consumption limit). Up to the DHD the product is in great condition with no signs of spoilage, and once past the DCL; the product is no longer safe for human consumption.
The development of this solution is part of METRO’s initiative to consistently reduce food waste and reach the target of curbing its own food waste by 50% by 2025.
“In the Accelerator Program, we are always looking for new, innovative solutions. Tsenso presented itself with a fantastic idea. The Fresh Index solution is technically complex, but, together with our quality assurance experts, we delved deeply into the matter and were able to support tsenso in transforming their concept into a practicable solution for METRO”, says Dr. Martin Behle, Operating Partner of METRO AG and Mentor of the METRO Xcel (Accelerator) Program.
During the test phase, which took place this summer on fresh packaged pork, tsenso’s solution allowed METRO to monitor temperature of the products from the producer all the way through to their arrival at the METRO store, customers were then able to track the freshness of the pork after purchase . Customer-feedback was overall positive. Some said:
„Remaining shelf-life as well as information on the origin of the food, farming method, feeding and the involved companies are of key interest.“
For more information on how the system worked:
On the B2B Front-end – in the METRO warehouse & store:
- The receiving department is alerted when temperature has passed its “safe limit.”
- An alert is dispatched when the shelf life of a product has expired.
- The staff has a detailed overview on all products in the warehouse and stores via a digital platform.
- Staff are also able to see details on the exact physio-chemical & microbiological properties of each product, which allows for better monitoring of the food products.
On the B2C app – for customers:
An in-store information stand has been set up, so customers are able to experience the Fresh Index first hand. A scan code at the stand downloads the app.
As a result of using the app, customers are able to learn about the dynamic best before date (DHD) and the dynamic spoilage limit (DCL), what it is and how it works.
The customer is also able to track the following things wherever they are:
- The DHD & DCL.
- The actual freshness (graphically).
- The app is personalized according to how each individual customer transports, stores and cools the purchased product.
- Information regarding producer, product, food safety and the CO2 footprint of that product.
- The option to give the vendor (METRO and down the supply chain) feedback.
For official results & outcomes of the test-phase stay tuned.