New smart sensors in development at Manchester's Syngenta Sensors University Innovation Centre could help to keep the price of groceries down.
Researchers are currently investigating how sensors integrated with Oyster-card type Radio Frequency ID (RFID) could be used to track stresses suffered by fruit and vegetables on their way to the supermarket.
A system using battery-free RFID tags is in development, which is hoped to cut down on the £20 billion worth of food thrown away each year.
"The first generation of this technology will be based upon silicon but our plan is to then use plastic printed electronics in later generations to make the sensor tags compatible in cost with the humble bar code," said centre director Dr Bruce Grieve.
Recently a new project to speed up the transfer of research and development from the North West Laser Engineering Consortium to businesses in the North West was given a £882,000 boost.