Project:Storage Life Insights

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The Storage Life Insights project is about understanding expiry dates and the behaviour of food as it ages, in order to combat consumer food waste. It will mostly consist of additions to the Open Food Facts mobile applications, server software and web interface. It may also result in additional software for features that don't fit into the official Open Food Facts software.

The project receives funding from the German ministry of education and research from 2020-03 to 2020-08. In Germany, the project is known and promoted under the name "Real MHD App", where "MHD" is the typical abbreviation of "Mindesthaltbarkeitsdatum", the German word for best-before date.

Getting started

As of 2020-03, the project is in the early stages of development. Expect a first usable software product around 2020-06-01.

Overview of project resources:

  • Project website. Focusing on our audience in Germany. Everything there is also contained here in the wiki.
  • Prototype Fund webpage. A short description of our project by our funding agency, in German. (See also: auto-translated version.)
  • Project wiki. (This very page and its sub-pages!) The project wiki provides the complete technical documentation of the project, collects ideas for further development etc..
  • Git repository. Our fork of the Open Food Facts native Android app where we develop this project's software functionality.
  • Slack channel. During the project runtime, we communicate mainly in the Open Food Facts slack channel #expirydates. To join, first invite yourself to the Open Food Facts Slack instance, then join that channel.
  • Team contacts. Currently, Matthias Ansorg ( is the main developer working on this project. He gets some help from others in the open source community, and you're welcome to contribute as well.

Idea and concept

See Concept.


See Features.

Data types

See Data types.

Project plan and timeline

Roughly, the project is structured along the following milestones between 2020-03-01 and -08-31:

  1. Definition of requirements. In the beginning, it will be decided which information about the storage life of food should be provided via the mobile application. That depends on the practical relevance of the information, on consumer protection regulations and on the details of the cooperation with Open Food Facts.
  2. Data structure agreement with Open Food Facts. Since the collected data on the storage life of food should be contributed to the Open Food Facts database, a suitable data structure is agreed on with the Open Food Facts core team. From what we discussed so far, the core team is generally open to this type of data, but details still need to be discussed and agreed.
  3. Implementation of the software. The planned program functions are first implemented in a copy ("fork") of the Open Food Facts codebase. We will repeatedly seek the opinions of developers from the Open Food Facts team to facilitate the later integration of our code.
  4. Data research. In addition to the implementation of the software, we collect easily available data on the storage life of food items. These should relate to food items that are in widespread use, in order to give the application a high practical value right from the start.
  5. Integration of the software. We contribute our code extensions to the official Open Food Facts Android application, their server software and potentially their web frontend.
  6. Data entry. All collected data is now added to the database via the official Open Food Facts application. It will be possible to contribute data in multiple languages ​​(including German). The initial data entry within the scope of this project will not necessarily consist of only data in German, since Open Food Facts is a worldwide project with English and French as its main languages.
  7. Implementation for iOS (optional). If there is still time available, the same software functions will also be implemented for the Open Food Facts application for Apple iOS devices.



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