Research project
18 | monthsSEN_SUS

Sensing of the food sustainability

Related toSpoke 01

Principal investigators
Riccardo Guidetti
  1. Home

  2. Research projects

  3. Sensing of the food sustainability

Project partners

Task involved

Task 1.3.3.

Consumers perception on food innovation: analysis of consumers social and cultural acceptance of new foods (including novel food and reformulated foods), new technologies, combined with innovative distribution channels, new packaging for multiple sustainable objectives, and efficient communication systems (in connection with Spoke 4).

Project deliverables


Guidelines on responsible product purchasing in line with sustainability goals through labelling systems and other technological tools (M18)

Interaction with other spokes

State of the art

The new technologies developed in the logic of industry 4.0 make it possible to make instrumental choices by preventing errors that can favor the production of waste. This both at the level of distribution (optimization of shelf life) and of consumer (purchase of unsuitable product).

Optical instruments are based on technologies that are reaching an increasingly better compromise between cost and performance: without wanting to replace more sophisticated or laboratory analyses, it is possible with simple systems (low-cost optical e-sensing based on LEDs and photodiodes or specific filters (lenses) to be placed before the camera of a smartphone on which to implement a specific app) to obtain classification or initial screening information relating to agri-food products.

The use of widespread low-cost technologies would lead to a more informed choice in different phases (distribution or consumer) of the supply chains to the advantage of reducing waste.

Operation plan

The objective of the project is developing simplified system (sensors or specific software application) based on the use of smartphones to favor qualitative assessments in order to avoid the production of waste due to bad choices; the steps are: 

  • Identification of the decision / choice phases that can generate the "future waste" (definition of the principal group of perishable products, technological parameters to be monitored, level of confidence with the user's technology); 
  • development of simplified system (sensors or specific software application) integrated with the smartphone (feasibility study and development); the system must be characterized by a very high usability and simplicity of use in order to favor the diffusion at every level;
  • scenarios of different applications (decision of the distribution or of the customer using the technologies).

Expected results

First, a comparative study will provide information to understand if the use of simplified optical devices can have a significant impact in terms of waste reduction compared to the common practices of management (e.g. in the mass distribution channel). Then, the optical sensors will be designed, built, and tested in order to develop user-friendly devices which can be used by operators to monitor the shelf-life of food products. Finally, a trial based on the implementation of such devices will be carried out in order to collect data and provide information to optimize the choices related to the management of the food products (e.g. increase shelf-life, a new destination in processed products or adoption of policies of price downgrade).