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Innovate UK

Technology that reduces food waste

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Innovation can’t be taught, it must be inspired 

Rhydian Hoddinott from Thaw Technology promoting the importance of innovation at Digital 2016
Rhydian Hoddinott from Thaw Technology promoting the importance of innovation at Digital 2016

We’re Thaw Technology, a humble technology and engineering start-up based in South Wales. We set up Thaw to do one simple thing, change the World. Simple.  It sounds like a Miss World pageant answer, but it is true. My alarm says so every morning when it wakes me up, unless the kids have already done so. The reason why we think this way is because we genuinely believe we can, and it is why we entered the Innovate UK competition.

Innovate UK and the Use-By-Mate

Innovate UK have a history in backing high growth start-ups and as such we were always keen on pitching to them. Fortunately, one of our ideas, the Use-By-Mate system (UBM) was not just a case of shoehorning an idea to fit a competition. Our solution genuinely solved the competition brief, “Fighting food waste in the home” which provided the opportunity to partner with Tesco and WRAP.

Technology that means forgotten food sees the light of day

Our successful application focused on product use-by-date collection and notification delivery to the customer in a timely manner. Ensuring unused and forgotten food sees the light of day again!

The technology works with current barcodes and products, paving the way to the GS1 Databar, a new generation of retail bar codes. These contain ‘product life’ information such as ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ dates.

When products are purchased, all data from the consumer's purchases are integrated directly into their Tesco mobile app.

The utilisation of the ‘use-by’ data will have far reaching benefits for Tesco. They will be able to track stock levels by expiry accurately, allowing tighter control of promotions and pricing on all products with a date, ensuring their waste is further reduced to a minimum. The information is also being integrated into Tesco’s customer range management (CRM) system for deeper insights into the behaviours of its most eco and ethically minded consumers.

Recording grocery purchase usage

Although all of Tesco’s customers purchase data is currently held and managed by Dunnhumby, there is currently no feedback loop in the data for the usage of purchases, whether promotions have only lined the bins. The UBM gives this and creates higher data quality to help save waste and aid in store experience.

From food waste to medical waste

We are currently working on our solution with the aim of a pre retail trial in Spring ‘17. After these trials we envisage a nationwide roll out. Afterwards we set our targets on the £120 million worth of expired medical goods thrown away by helping the NHS. Further helping our goal to change the world!

If anyone is interested in trialing our system in order to begin saving money, we are currently looking for you!

Contact us

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