Hand-held gadget can reveal if bananas and avocados have gone off

End of squeezing fruit to check its ripeness? Supermarket gadget can reveal if bananas and avocados have gone off in under a second

  • Three UK retailers are in talks to install new state-of-the-art scanners 
  • Customers will be able to simply pick up an item and put it under a machine
  • It scans with an infra-red beam, estimating the number of days until it goes off

Shoppers will no longer have to squeeze their fruit and veg in British supermarkets to guess how ripe it is.

Three of the UK’s biggest retailers are in talks to install new state-of-the-art scanners that predict the shelf life to within a day.

Customers will be able to simply pick up an item – such as an avocado or mango – and put it under a machine that scans it with an infra-red beam.

In under a second, a screen above will flash up with a score out of a 100 revealing how ripe it is and estimate the number of days until it goes off.

Three of the UK’s biggest retailers are in talks to install new state-of-the-art scanners that predict the shelf life to within a day. Pictured, what the product will look like in shops

The ‘ripeness checker’ will be used for soft, exotic, and stone fruit and vegetables, which are particularly prone to spoilage

Dutch company OneThird say their invention will stop the huge levels of food waste that cost retailers and consumers billions of pounds every year globally.

The ‘ripeness checker’ will be used for soft, exotic, and stone fruit and vegetables, which are particularly prone to spoilage.

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Using infra-red, the machine scans the product on a molecular level, for example its water, sugar, and starch content.

Sophisticated AI then compares this to hundreds of thousands of other examples on its database and see how similar items fared.

The accuracy of the machine – which is expected to be able to predict the shelf life of ten fruit and vegetables by the end of the year – depends on what is being tested.

For avocados, a score will appear on the screen from zero to 100 – with those scoring over 70 likely to go off in four to five days for example and those in the mid-range around two to three days.

For strawberries however the machine will be able to narrow its estimate down to a day.

OneThird founder Marco Snikkers told the Daily Mail they were in talks with three major British retailers to install the machines, though he would not reveal exactly who.

But he said all were already using the machines in their supply chains.

The firm is named after the amount of food that goes to waste every year. Around 40 per cent of this is fresh produce – largely due to spoilage.

The device is ready to work with avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries. By the end of 2023, the company is extending it to grapes, bananas, mangoes and raspberries.

Speaking at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Mr Snikkers said: ‘The astronomical volume of food that goes to waste each year is heartbreaking, particularly since so much is wasted in affluent countries.

The device is ready to work with avocados, tomatoes, strawberries, and blueberries. By the end of 2023, the company is extending it to grapes, bananas, mangoes and raspberries. Pictured, a handheld version of the scanner

‘We’ve worked hard to create technology that helps to address this persistent, global challenge which directly impacts food scarcity.’

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