Food stock management app just got even smarter

  • Date

    Thu 25 Feb 21

screenshots from Nosh food app

An app developed by University of Essex scientists to help households keep track of their food stocks during COVID-19 has now been made even easier to use.

Using a smartphone’s camera, the nosh app will be able to detect and classify 132 different types of fruit and vegetables. However, what sets it apart from similar smartphone technology is the fact it is over 50% more efficient in terms of power and memory used.

The nosh app’s development team presented the intellectual property associated with this feature at the IEEE IndiCon 2020 conference and is currently in the process of integrating the feature into the app.

The app was created in response to the pandemic totally changing most people’s food buying habits – from stockpiling groceries in the early weeks of the crisis to shopping less often, at different times and in different ways.

Computer scientists from the University’s School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering joined forces with colleagues in India to develop a free smartphone app capable of reminding households of the expiry date of the stocked items before they expire and provide the individual user’s food buying/wastage analytics such that the user can make a more informed decision to optimize food waste in the household.

The nosh app was initiated by Somdip Dey, who was working on a business idea at the StudioX start-up hub at the University and have now founded the tech start-up Nosh Technologies.

Although the app was developed in response to changing shopping habits during lockdown, the project team says the app is a useful tool at any time for households wanting to keep a better track of what they have in their fridge and cupboards.

“We frequently hear about the vast amount of food thrown away by households every day,” explained Somdip. “But with our app we offer a way to help people keep a better track of what food they have at home, and their expiry dates, to help reduce their food waste which will be better for the environment and ultimately save them money. The best way to reduce food waste is to only buy and consume the amount of food that is needed at home and consume while fresh, which our app helps you to achieve.”

As Somdip’s research is focused on implementing artificial intelligence (AI) in mobile platforms for performance, efficiency and reliability, he will continue to develop the technology to enhance the app's user interface to improve the user experience.

The nosh app has recently been named as one of the top 50 innovations in the Food & Water category by the Accenture's Blue Tulip Awards.