The Mimica TOUCHCAP has been designed to be accessible and affordable with freshness indicators for all types of perishable products, including pharmaceuticals, with the aim to reduce food waste and increase consumer food safety.
UNITED CAPS CEO Benoit Henckes said: “Throughout our history, we have invested heavily in innovation and R&D, and we view this innovation from Mimica as a game changer, one that has a profound effect on how caps are used, their contribution to the reduction of waste and carbon emissions, and their ability to drive purchase.”
The concept for Mimica TOUCHCAP began as a design project for Mimica’s founder, Solveiga Pakštaitė, was to make expiry dates inclusive to visually impaired people, before realising that expiry dates also drive large amounts of food waste. Pakštaitė therefore considered a label that provided real-time information about the condition of food and accessibility to the visually impaired and cognitively challenged. The result, the Mimica TOUCHCAP, has a freshness indicator that changes from smooth to bumpy if a product is no longer fresh.
With extensive testing and experimentation, Pakštaitė was able to calibrate a gel that never comes into contact with the product yet enables a specialised label to change from smooth to bumpy based on storage conditions and food profile. The UNITED CAPS and Mimica teams were able to develop a fully recyclable cap that does not affect bottle recyclability yet offers a fast, easy way for a consumer to ensure food quality is still good.
TOUCHCAP is a sustainable closure that consists of a base cap and over cap from UNITED CAPS with the activator and gel invented by Mimica.
The Mimica cap arrives at the filling line in two parts: The base cap, which has been tested by key filling line manufacturers and requires only minimal changes to the filling line; and the over cap, which is applied after the filling process with a dedicated machine integrated into the production flow like other modules such as labelling or film wrapping. The top cap, where the bumps will appear, is dormant until activated by the consumer when the cap is twisted open for the first time.
The cap is undergoing a pilot project in the UK with an orange juice brand. Through this pilot and other UNITED CAPS research, it was determined that the total annual waste of juice in the UK alone amounted to 121 million kilograms, with a Mimica TOUCHCAP waste reduction potential of 44%, equating to 53 million kilograms annually of juice.
One UK study calculates that nearly nine million tonnes of food (of all types) are discarded as waste each year.1
Henckes concluded: “We are looking forward to continuing to work with Mimica to develop caps and closures for other types of products. Not only is reducing food waste important for the planet, but this alone also reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The goals and objectives of UNITED CAPS and Mimica are perfectly aligned with respect to sustainability, food safety and more.”
- Nitrogen UK, Biffaward/Horticultural Research Institute, 2005