Solveiga Pakstaite of Mimica
Meet Solveiga Pakstaite, the founder of Mimica, an innovative company that aims to reduce food wastage through accurately tracking food decay. The company has developed a biologically accurate food expiry indicator which they believe will result in a dramatically reduced wastage of food.
About the founder
Solveiga Pakstaite originally developed the idea as a university project, which lead to a continued interest and booming idea. Pakstaite has been fortunate enough to receive a healthy amount of funding to pursue her project, winning the James Dyson Scholarship in 2014, followed by the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award in 2015. The traction gained following Pakstaite’s enthusiasm coupled with the prestigious recognition, in 2014 and 2015, allowed the business to propel itself forward and accelerate the rate of their research and development labs.
Following initial success and recognition for her work, Solveiga then focused on securing an investment, successfully acquiring £150,000. The significant investment to the fledgling company allowed Pakstaite to bring on an additional employee, who was able to support her developing businesses. The cash injection also allowed her to further build out her lab testing facilities and file for new patents.
Despite her well-earned success, Pakstaite has faced hurdles, working in a highly male-centric environment. With the number of women in STEM subjects still considerably low, she faced stereotypes when entering the field, but shortly dismantled these negative notions by displaying her in-depth knowledge of proteins, food decay and her overall passion for business.
Launching a business, such as Mimica, not only requires the all-important funding, but also the support from mentors and experienced business people. Pakstaite noted that receiving mentoring is absolutely vital to success and can save you from painful mistakes and difficult situations. The advice on how to spend the grants proved particularly useful, with Pakstaite learning how to accelerate her business development and gain momentum in pushing forward her vision.
The Mimca products aim to reduce food wastage through more accurate indicators of when food is truly not safe to use. The first product created by Mimca is the Mimica Touch; this biologically accurate food expiry indicator is calibrated to experience decay at the same rate as the food inside the packaging.
The internal gel that deteriorates at the same rate as the packaged food, is made from gelatin, a by-product of the food industry. The behaviors of this product are the same as other food products, with a similar molecular composition. The gel even reacts to temperature and changes in the packaging, which would also have an affect on the food inside. These changes in molecular breakdown result in a way for the user to gather information from the packaging, allowing them to determine if the food is safe to use, through a more accurate approach compared to the traditional dating system.
The indicator has been developed to be highly accessible, with consideration for those with visual impairments. The label is smooth at the beginning of the cycle, however, over time the gel breaks down and bumps can be felt by running your hand over the label, indicating food spoilage.
Pakstaite’s product is easily manufactured and can be applied to any existing packaging equipment, ensuring that this method is highly adoptable. This product aims to benefit everyone, through reducing costly food bills and ensuring that we no longer waste food due to inaccurate or vague use-by dates.