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CookStamp: Smart Freezer Bag Tags. Never Let a Cooked Meal Go To Waste Again

Using RFID tags, track and monitor the food you put away for later in the fridge and freezer. Reduce waste and save your meals!

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan

Written by

Have you ever cooked too much food and freeze the remainder for another time. It's a great idea and saves a lot of time down the road. However, ever looked into the freezer six months later and the food is still there. Or was it three months ago? Not sure so we throw it out.

Or you bought too much meat and froze it for another time but it ends u in the bottom of a pile and is forgotten about until you clean out the freezer again.

Smart Freezer Tags aim to fix this. When you put food into a freezer bag, use the smart tag to track what type of food (veg, meat, fish) and the date it was cooked. This food is logged in and can be tracked or scanned your smartphone. An associated app will alert you when the food is close to it's used by date so it won't go to waste. The app also allows your to see an inventory of frozen meals, meats etc.

The tags can be reused and reprogrammed after each use and are suitable for the fridge, freezer or cupboards.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Speak to people on the street about their cooking habits and how they store leftovers. Use a landing page to see if there is sufficient interest and have an online poll to get insights.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Would love to hear peoples cooking and eating habits, how much they waste freezing food and if they would every buy a product like this.

Tell us about your work experience:

Full-time telecommunications engineer working on the design and optimisation of cellular networks. Part-time student in an MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

How far along is your idea?

  • It’s just been created! It’s existed for 1 day - 1 month

16 comments

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Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

I would also be interested to hear what else could we use RF tags on in the kitchen to make life easier?

Photo of Cameron Kruse
Team

Donal O'Sullivan , Interesting idea! Have you thought at all about what type of RFIDs you would use? I think passive RFIDs would be the go to, but then you would need a fairly high powered antenna that wouldn't be disturbed by the interference caused by the freezer. Any thoughts?

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

I think it would need to be passive RFID. But I suspect there can be a lot of loss from the Freeze door so getting a RFID reader to read through a freezer may be a challenge. Love to hear your thoughts.

Photo of Eric Snyder
Team

Would the RFID tags be reusable once the food has been removed from the freezer for use?  Or would they be single use?

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

I would hope they would be reusable. Need to see if it is feasible but I think this would be the best approach.

Photo of Eric Snyder
Team

Here's a piece which might help folks understand how RFIDs work -- http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/high-tech-gadgets/rfid.htm

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Also, it would be useful to check if the freezer acts a Faraday Cage (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage) .  This might also be interesting to read :http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/25/why-snowdens-visitors-put-their-phones-in-the-fridge/?_r=0

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

Hi Tojin , good point on the Faraday Cage. This needs to be tested, along with the expected high losses through a fridge door.

Photo of Cameron Kruse
Team

If anyone is looking for a clear cut guide on the basics of RFID systems I found thisto be particularly helpful: (http://rfid.atlasrfidstore.com/hs-fs/hub/300870/file-252314647-pdf/Content/basics-of-an-rfid-system-atlasrfidstore.pdf)

The table on the last page lays out the pros and cons of different options very clearly. 

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

Just gave this idea a name. CookStamp. Also uploaded a high level sketch up of the setup of the idea.

Photo of Eric Snyder
Team

Sounds like a great idea.  How can one find the tags and the app(s) necessary for implementation?

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

Hi Eric,

I need to research this a bit more. However I think it's important to first understand would people use this, what are peoples habits for storing food, cooking food and throwing away food. 

I'd be confident that a technical solution could be created, preferably a cheap solution.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

Wow, thanks!

Hope to put up more details on this idea soon.

Photo of Kate Rushton
Team

Hi Donal! Thank you for your idea on the use of smart freezer tags! 

Would you be able to upload a rough diagram to show the user journey for your idea? Just so everything is absolutely clear. 

It would be interesting to see how commercial kitchens in restaurants currently track and monitor food items in freezers. 

mak david has a similar but different idea using RFID tagging - https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/food-waste/ideas/supermarket-electrical-appliance-tie-up/comments#!comments-section 

It will be interesting to know your opinions on the other person's idea. 

Photo of Donal O'Sullivan
Team

Hi Kate, Thanks for the reply. I'm working on a few sketch-ups to post here to give a better idea of what I'm talking about. I'll hope to get these up soon.

I also thought about what Mark David put up but it would need a lot of work getting supermarkets to add labels. I kind also want to promote cooking at home which I'm trying more of and I think a way of tracking the meals you cook and freeze would help people plan meals and of course save waste and money. Love to hear more of your thoughts.