You can’t see it now… but in 24 hours, you will!

Most of us have seen grocery store workers put discount stickers on their products – usually because the item is about to expire, or just needs to be moved off the shelves.

These discounts are typically beneficial for consumers… but based on the amount of “price checks” and missing stickers on items, we all can agree that it can be confusing, time-consuming, and prone to mistakes.

Luckily, three grad students from Taipei University of Technology have thought of a better and more productive way to deal with these discount codes – using a new invention called Barcodiscount.

What is Barcodiscount?


Barcodiscount is a new technology that causes food labels to change color after a certain time.

It’s based on existing technology… but this new system uses color-changing stickers to show different discounts based on how close the expiration date is approaching – without humans constantly swapping out stickers.

Normally, this color-changing tech is applied when printing the labels, but the team thought of a way for the “timer” to begin when the label is applied in the store.

So, let’s say an item expires in 48 hours. The words “30% off” would then appear on the label. Then when it’s 24 hours away, it would say 50% off. It’s not magic – it’s innovation!

Why does this matter?

Waste and spoilage rates have been a topic of concern over the past few years. This concept will allow supermarkets and food producers to do their part in reducing waste.

The spotlight on this issue has also created innovations like micro-needle sensors that can detect spoilage, and even an app that helps find people who want food that is going to be thrown out just because of the sticker date.

To put it in perspective: In the UK alone, about 10 million tons of food and water are wasted each year – that’s billions of dollars that are literally getting thrown out.

Of course, this goes further. In order to produce that food, we use tons of water and fertilizer… which never gets consumed. But with these stickers, the trio hopes it will help reduce emissions in the environment. It seems like an idea where everyone can benefit in some way.

What do you think about all these different types of innovations to help reduce spoilage? Do you think there should be a bigger push to get more stores to use them? Should more people be excited about this?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

3 comments on “This Food Label Changes Color (And Price) When the Food Is About to Expire

  1. Judith Ker on

    This is a fabulous idea! A huge congratulations to the folks who brought this to us. Now, getting the markets to use this technology will, I think, be a huge deterrent. The reason, of course, is money. I feel that most of them would rather try to get full price for everything and if they don’t get the sale, expired goods would just be juzzed around and relabeled.

    This would really help those of us who go to the store specifically shopping for those things on sale. I wish you, all who are involved, great luck in introducing this technology to the world!


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