Food transport to be revolutionised

A product to significantly cut the 36 per cent of food wastage that occurs in handling and logistics was recognised last night with an Australian Information Industry Association Award.

The iAward for the Smart-r-Tag system was presented by Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation & Trade Philip Dalidakis. La Trobe University’s Centre for Technology Infusion is the technology developer for SensaData’s Smart-r-Tag.

The Smart-r-Tag, which has gone through successful trials with one of Australia’s leading growers and packers of fruit and vegetables, will be available commercially next year.

The tag system, which can be used with food and other condition-sensitive goods such as pharmaceuticals, will provide complete information on a product’s journey from its origin to the end-user. And with increasing interest in the origin of products, the tag will verify the journey taken before it reaches the consumer.

The Smart-r-Tags can be attached to a carton, crate or pallet and will show the product’s location, temperature, surrounding air-quality and handling throughout its transit from supplier to wholesaler, distributor and retailer. If a product is damaged or spoiled, the tag will prove where, when and how it occurred.

With food-safety regulations being tightened all the time, the Smart-r-Tag will be able to prove that a product has been kept in optimum condition at all times. The shelf-life of strawberries, for example, increases from three days to 10 days if they are kept at a constant 1C rather than being exposed to a temperature of 5C. For seafood, the shelf-life increases from one to five days.

The tag system will support the food industry with decreased costs, spoilage and waste, with everyone on the supply-chain, from producer to consumer, benefiting. Food waste is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters and the Smart-r-Tag will help reduce those emissions.

The Smart-r-Tags can be reused once they finish their journey, which is all part of SensaData’s philosophy of keeping costs down, so the food and pharmaceutical market can more easily adopt the innovative, award-winning product.

“The significant reduction of wastage and spoiling of perishable produce and high-value drugs and vaccines will mean the tags quickly pay for themselves,” says SensaData CEO Scott McKenzie. “The tags are small, powerful, low cost and reusable.”

Delivering powerful functionality along with long battery life is an important aspect of the award-winning Smart-r-Tag product.

La Trobe University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Keith Nugent, said: “At the heart of this solution is a miniaturised system-on-a-microchip developed by our researchers at Centre for Technology Infusion. It has next-generation super-high-frequency RFID technology as well as sensing, data logging and on-chip analytics.

“Engaging with industry is a priority for the University. For example, our Centre for Technology Infusion Director, Dr Aniruddha Desai, has also been acting as SensaData’s Chief Technology Officer to guide its technical development program.”

With Smart-r-Tags in the final phase of development, SensaData is seeking commercial partners to launch the product.

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Media Contact: Tim Newhouse – t.newhouse@latrobe.edu.au – 9479 2315 / 0416306759

Scott McKenzie – s.mckenzie@sensadata.net – 0419153866

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