The Freshness of Labels

Bad meat. There’s nothing nastier. Though the area where I live has a pretty good hold on fresh food packaging and labeling, there’s always some stragglers. According to designer Naoki Hirota, mislabeled food is more than a tiny problem in some shops of the world. Thus, temporal labels are in order.

Or are they?

What this label does, as you can see, is change color over time. Once the meat (or other perishable product) is past it’s due, the label will have turned from white to blue, making the item unscannable. The label has one layer of info for the food with the barcode, and another on top with special ink reactive to ammonia.

The ink is made of non-toxic, safe pigment of purple cabbages.

A device for truly honest food store owners, but as a salvation for the problem of bad food being sold worldwide? Maybe not. Anyone have ideas for other uses for the label?
Or perhaps another solution for the problem?

Given recent (baby milk) problems of late, one might think that there is no true solution to such a situation.

Designer: Naoki Hirota


  • foodcert says:

    hope there will be more innovations in this label stuff for other kinds of food

  • uli says:

    This concept is nothing new.

    It’s been around for years already.

    Check out and you’ll see that it’s been done before.

    • pat says:

      Nice, I like it better as a feature to help the consumer post-purchase, rather than trying to keep meat merchants honest.

      The merchant could always swap the label with another, re-wrapping the meat.

  • kiran says:

    Like Uli said. variations of this exist. I even saw it in practice almost 10 years ago in a small speciality food store. It was a sticker that slowly changed color as it reacted to the air. I guess the amount of time it took the dye to change corresponded close enough to the expiration of the prepared foods.

    Regardless of whether this is new or not, I have to say it is a good idea.

  • LouiSe says:

    Hmm, this idea was published at 13/06/2007:

  • ares,chai says:

    hi, i had interest to this item, can u say contact info to me.

  • this is the good use of labels for food. The design is perfect for testing of products.

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