Fresh Index optimises the best before date

21 March 2018Download

The start-up tsenso prevailed over more than 600 competitors from seven countries in the METRO Accelerator Program 2016. The solution developed by tsenso involves a gapless temperature tracking of products from farm to fork under the name of Fresh Index. With tsenso’s cloud solution the cooling chain can be reliably monitored.

FreshIndex Monitoring

The start-up tsenso prevailed over more than 600 competitors from seven countries in the METRO Accelerator Program 2016. The solution developed by tsenso involves a gapless temperature tracking of products from farm to fork under the name of Fresh Index. With tsenso's cloud solution the cooling chain can be reliably monitored. The data are updated as the temperature conditions change. The index shows how fresh and edible a product still is. That way, food waste is reduced because the products are no longer evaluated solely according to their best before data, but also according to their real-time shelf life.

In cooperation with METRO Cash & Carry Germany, tsenso calculates the freshness of food taking the example of pork meat. For the calculation, the hygiene data provided by the producer and the actually measured storage conditions are used as a basis. In this context, all data relevant for quality along the entire food supply chain from the producer to the trader all the way to the consumer are taken into account. The resulting Fresh Index can be read out via an App and digitally displayed, e.g. on digital price tags in the cooling shelf or in the online food shop.

"In the Accelerator Program, we are looking for new, innovative solutions. tsenso presented itself with a fantastic idea. The Fresh Index solution offered is technically complex, but, together with our quality assurance experts, we delved deeply into the matter and were able to support tsenso in transforming their concept into a practicable solution", says Dr. Martin Behle, Operating Partner of METRO AG and Mentor of the METRO Accelerator Program.

Through mentoring and access to partners, the METRO Accelerator program offers start-ups the possibility to successfully develop their own business further with a view to customers and investors. "We really wanted to make it into the METRO Accelerator program as this would give us direct contact with the retail sector. That was crucial for our further success because it gives us the opportunity to test the relevance of our solution in a very different way. The three-month Accelerator program was a hard, but intensive time. We received valuable feedback from METRO's quality assurance. We established a broad network of supporting companies and are now in the process of qualifying the Fresh Index, in a first step for the pork supply chain of METRO Cash & Carry Germany", explains Dr. Matthias Brunner, founder and CEO of tsenso.

After developing the basic idea and completing the first conceptual studies, the Fresh Index is now implemented in three project steps until the end of 2019 and tested in the industrial environment. In a first step, a concept for efficiency improvements in the supply chain and for a better use of the shelf life of food products was developed. In the second step, tsenso examines how existing international standards can be extended in order to be able to retrieve the actual data of individual product units at any time along the supply chain. For how many days foods can be safely eaten beyond the best before date is something that can only be reliably determined in the practical tests. These tests will be launched by tsenso and METRO Cash & Carry Germany together with the project partners in autumn 2018. After completing the test phase and evaluating the Fresh Index, a decision about the implementation and extension to other products will be taken in late 2019.

According to recent studies, food worth €143 billion is discarded every year in the European Union alone. METRO consistently focuses on reducing food losses and set itself the target of curbing food waste in its own operations by 50% until the year 2025.

The project initiated by Stuttgart-based tsenso GmbH is implemented jointly by a project consortium comprising:

METRO AG is a leading international wholesale and food specialist. In the frame-work of the project, the sales line METRO Cash & Carry Germany will significantly enhance transparency and safety along the supply chain. That is achieved by obtaining the hygiene data from the producers and the actually measured storage conditions. This represents an important contribution to reducing food waste.

arconsis IT Solutions GmbH – A strategic partner for high-grade IT-services in the areas "Adaptive Enterprise" and "Mobile Enterprise". "Mobile Enterprise" includes the development of innovative and individual mobile business solutions. In the area "Adaptive Enterprise" arconsis offers extensive experience for successful software development projects, high performance teams and lean IT architectures.

Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences (H-BRS) – The research group for business and consumer IT led by Prof. Dr. Gunnar Stevens at the H-BRS examines environmental and consumer IT from a praxeological perspective.

University of Bonn – The team around PD Dr. Judith Kreyenschmidt at the Uni-versity of Bonn has been doing research in the field of food safety for many years with the aim of reducing waste along the supply chain. With its results, the team made a significant contribution to the development of the Fresh Index.

tsenso GmbH – tsenso GmbH develops special solutions for the analysis of complex data in the field of distribution logistics and goods transport. To this effect, tsenso relies on big data analytics and adaptive models with an industry focus on goods transport and food logistics. The founder team commands expert knowledge in the field of software development, big data and big data analytics, goods transport simulation as well as the dynamic modelling of biological systems. Regarding the microbiological models used to describe food quality, the project is supported by Prof. Marcell Zwietering, a renowned expert in the field of predictive food modelling.

GS1 Germany – GS1 Germany supports the development and implementation of open, cross-industry standards applicable around the world. In the framework of this project, GS1 Germany examines, inter alia, up to which degree a dynamic shelf life can be integrated into the existing global GS1 portfolio and, where necessary, prepares the necessary expansions of the standard for a possible release.

bwcon e.V. – The network management is assumed by bwcon GmbH, the services subsidiary of the business initiative Baden-Württemberg: Connected e. V., which is engaged in promoting the high-tech sector in the region Baden-Württemberg to foster key technologies and markets for industry and society.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports the project in the framework of the funding measure "KMU-NetC" with funds of around €1 million.

METRO is a leading international specialist in wholesale and food retail. The company operates in 35 countries and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. In financial year 2016/17, METRO generated sales of around €37 billion. The company provides custom solutions to meet the regional and international needs of its wholesale and retail customers. With its sales brands METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry and Real as well as delivery services and digitalisation initiatives METRO sets the standards for tomorrow: for customer focus, digital solutions and sustainable business models.