High school student builds AI system to prevent food waste

A Washington state high school student plans to help reduce food waste in grocery stores using smart labels and machine learning.

Alyssa Lin is founding FoodTLK LLC and developed the plan to reduce fresh food waste. Smart labels on produce packaging change colour as they age, as an indicator of freshness. An AI model then automatically changes the price of the produce in response to various factors including its age and local demand.

Watch Lin pitch her idea for FoodTLK to the 2023 Blue Ocean Competition.

In year one, she plans to target and roll out FoodTLK solutions to 10 grocery stores in the Puget Sound area and optimize operations in the region. In year two, she aims to grow to 50 stores in Washington state. By the third year she plans go national and target 600 stores, which represents 0.9% of the total addressable market in US.

Grocery stores are responsible for 10% of all U.S. food waste.

Lin’s business plan, “FoodTLK Business Plan: Using Smart Labels and Machine Learning to Reduce Fresh Food Waste”, has been chosen as a finalist for the Genius Olympiad international competition (June 2023), and has advanced to the top 30 in the Blue Ocean competition, internationally.

Lin’s pitch explaining how FoodTLK works.

Her research project, “Scientific and feasibility assessment of using intelligent packaging to reduce refresh food waste” won an Excellent award in Environmental sustainability in Washington State (2022), along with 2nd Place at Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (2022) and 3rd Place at Central Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair (2022).

“This is a fascinating project. It incorporates the economic idea of elasticity of demand into computer technology and has a great potential of reducing wastes in food supply chains,” said Susan Zhu, Professor of Economics, Michigan State University.

“Alyssa has shown initiative in evaluating various factors and in researching new technology.”