“A temperature-sensitive tag that turns bumpy when food should no longer be consumed”.

That’s how Mimica described its innovation when it applied to our Call 3 funding round for feasibility studies in 2021. Almost four years since the Seafood Innovation Fund (SIF) launched its first call for novel ideas for the seafood sector, we continue to be amazed at the inventiveness and creativity of the applications coming in. 

Mimica originally designed their dynamic expiry label in the form of a cap and tag for juice and meat products. Seafood represented a new, exciting, and challenging frontier. Due to seafood being at a high risk of spoilage, especially when exposed to changes in temperature, the supply chain tends to set highly cautious expiry dates on products – even if these may still be safe (and tasty) to eat after the date has passed. This leads to a lot of waste, and in turn, lower consumer confidence plus costs for companies and the environment. Mimica therefore received Call 3 funding from SIF to undertake an initial five-month feasibility study exploring the possibility of extending seafood shelf-life. Through their research, Mimica found that reasonable storage could significantly extend the shelf-life of popular seafood products beyond their expiry dates – in the case of salmon, up to six extra days.

After successfully completing their feasibility study, Mimica applied to the SIF Call 3 follow-on Research and Development (R&D) stage. Mimica’s aims were to tailor the tag – now called “Bump” – for incorporation into seafood packaging, and to gain valuable consumer feedback, to ultimately increase customer confidence in seafood products. As you can probably guess, Mimica were successful in their R&D application and received over £250,000 in funding from us to develop the Bump tag.

On 15 May 2023, the SIF team seized the opportunity to find out first-hand how Bump works and to meet the people behind the innovation at a site visit to Mimica’s head office in London. Attending from Cefas, who administer SIF on behalf of Defra, were Cefas CEO and Chair of the SIF Executive Board Neil Hornby, and SIF Programme Team members Suzanna Neville and Gemma Loveday. Also in attendance were SIF Steering Group member and Defra Senior Policy Advisor for Fisheries Funding Matthew Darlison, along with Chantal Lyons from Mindfully Wired Communications, SIF’s communications partner. There to greet us were key members of Mimica’s team, including Founder and Director Solveiga Pakstaite, Chief Technology Officer Lawrie Matthews, Product Development Manager Jonas Ricknell, and Communications Manager Ieva Hofmane. 

Solveiga and Lawrie kicked things off with a potted history of their innovative tag. Then we got our chance to get up close to Bump itself. The tag’s small size and plain look hid the surprising wizardry inside: a plant-based gel that makes – in Lawrie’s words – “a little mattress” over a series of bumps. The chemistry of the gel is such that it changes consistency when exposed to a certain amount of heat for a certain amount of time. When a person touches the tag, if the gel has been exposed to enough heat over the life of the food (and the food is therefore likely to have spoiled), it will instantly – again in Lawrie’s words – “sploosh” and liquify. And with that, the bumps are easy to feel. This makes Bump accessible for people with colour blindness or visual impairments, in comparison to expiry labels based on colour changes. 

The innovation isn’t ready for roll-out across packing lines just yet, and plans include making Bump discreet and small enough to suit seafood brands. SIF’s funding for the R&D stage will enable Mimica to develop a version of Bump that is activated at the point that the seafood is packaged in the factory. 

It was inspiring to meet the Mimica team, and learn about the potential of their ‘Bump’ technology to help tackle food waste in the seafood sector,” Cefas CEO Neil Hornby said after the visit. “I’m proud that SIF has played a key role in facilitating this innovation.” 

Having seen Mimica’s project progress from proposal to physical product, the site visit to Mimica left the SIF team feeling inspired and extremely pleased to see the impact that SIF is having. We’ll be keenly following Mimica’s exploits with Bump over the 15 months of the R&D project. For now, the future of seafood feels close enough to touch.