A new Kickstarter wants to make stopping food waste as easy as talking to your Amazon Alexa.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
May 24, 2018
Credit: Courtesy of Ovie

Plastic food storage containers like Tupperware are meant to make life easy: Toss food in, toss container in fridge, deal with it later. But if you’ve ever dreamed of a day when your storage containers worked harder than you do, a new Kickstarter wants to make that a reality.

Ovie Smarterware is offering the simple promise to “make it easy for you to keep track of what's in your fridge and waste less food” by turning “an ordinary fridge into a smart fridge but without the smart fridge price tag!” The company hopes to make that possible with its SmartTags—small, internet-connected, light-up discs that are able to inform you when your food is about to go bad in multiple ways. SmartTags can tell you about the tagged items in your fridge via your smartphone, as well as send notifications when something is about to go bad. But the tags also offer a physical component, lighting up either green, yellow or red so you can quickly glance around your refrigerator and determine what needs to be eaten.

To make these SmartTags extra simple to use, Ovie is offering its own containers and clips, though the company will also have “universal connects” which the brand says can be attached to “anything else” from to-go boxes to whatever storage containers you already have lying around the house to that half-drunk bottle of white wine that always seems to appear in your fridge.

To top it all off, Ovie promises that using your Smaretware will be easy as possible thanks to Amazon Alexa compatibility and the company’s own food info. “If you have an Amazon Alexa, you can tag simply by telling your assistant what to track,” the brand says on its Kickstarter page. (If you don’t have Alexa, you can enter this info in manually via your phone.) From there, “we source how long it should last from our database of common food spoilage times and send that info the Smart Tag to start the countdown.” Don’t agree with those numbers? You can also manually adjust spoilage times if you feel like that slice of pizza was already on its last legs.

Lastly, since there’s an app, obviously the list of things Ovie promises you’ll be able to do with it is pretty endless: see everything in your fridge and when it goes bad, get recipes based on those items, sync things up with a grocery list app, and even track your food waste reduction compared to others in your area.

“People don’t want to waste all of this food – it just happens,” said Ty Thompson, Ovie’s co-founder and CEO. “We wanted to help solve this problem by creating a product that would be simple to use and bring a more mindful approach to food storage.”

For those interested in the Ovie Smarterware system, packages start at $60—promising three SmartTags and the accompanying universal connectors, as well as the Ovie Hub which is required to get everything to wirelessly connect to each other—and go as high as $300 for a “Total Fridge Kit” that also includes plenty of Smartware containers and clips. Ovie is aiming for a February 2019 delivery date, but as is the case with all Kickstarter campaigns, backers should remember that delivery dates can be extremely fluid and some projects never even materialize at all.

Plus, all that being said, Ovie comes with another consideration: Any food storage system is only as good as the person who uses it. Dealing with leftovers on a full stomach can be hard enough to begin with: Is digging around for a bunch of SmartTags and making sure they’re set properly actually any easier or just more involved? That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself before backing.