Berlin-based designer Kimia Amir Moazami wants to tackle food waste with a packaging system that makes it clear whether something is safe to eat.
Vorkoster is a smart lid that uses a PH-sensing film to detect when food is expired. As food begins to spoil, the film will gradually change color, making it easy to tell if it’s still good to eat.
This can accurately indicate the freshness of food, so people don’t have to rely on common expiration dates that can lead to food being wasted unnecessarily.
Amir Moazami presented the project at Dutch Design Week as part of Secrid Talent Podium, a showcase of projects championing design as a force for good.
“More than 60 percent of food waste occurs at home. This wastes not only food but also money,” Amir Moazami told exhibition organizers.
“We wanted to create something that would help people save money on food for sustainability and economic reasons.”
The lid is designed to be used on any food containing protein such as meat or fish. These items release ammonia gas when expired.
The film is made from algae coated with a specially developed indicator dye that changes color from pale green to bright purple in response to this gas.
The lid is designed to fit any type of bathtub or bowl, making it as easy to use as possible.
“Designing the lid makes the use of the product more flexible and not limited to one type of container,” says Amir Moazami.
The designers created the first working prototype of Vorkoster in 2021 as a graduation project for UdK Berlin’s design degree program.
It was developed with the help of Sunny Chia, a chemical scientist whom I met during my training at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research.
Since then, the two have been developing the concept with a view to launching Vorkoster as a commercial product.
They believe this product could be on store shelves within the next two years.
“The challenge with Vorkoster is that it is a product that deals with food quality and shelf life,” says Amir Moazami.
“This is a sensitive topic, so we need to develop the technology until it is truly consumer-friendly, safe and clear. It needs to work perfectly before we can bring it to market.”
Over the past two years, Amir Moazami and Chia have participated in a series of entrepreneurship and scholarship programs to fund the development of their projects.
As part of the Secrid Talent Podium, supported by the Dutch Design Foundation and What Design Can Do, they won a prize of 7,777 euros.
There were a total of seven participants, including brick innovator Emmy Bensdorp and affordable hospital equipment super local Luc van Hockel.