© 2022 Elsevier B.V.The objective of this study was to develop novel colorimetric films for food freshness monitoring. UV light irradiation (365 nm) and carbon dots (CDs) were tested as the potential crosslinkers in the fabrication of anthocyanins doped fish gelatin (FG) films. The effect of crosslinkers on the optical, surface, structural, barrier and mechanical properties of FG films was investigated. The incorporation of CDs under UV irradiation improved the tested properties of FG films. The kinetic colorimetric responses of FG films against ammonia vapor were studied to simulate the food spoilage and determine the ammonia sensitivity of the films. Among the tested films, UV-treated FG films containing 100 mg/l (FG-UV-CD100) indicated the best properties. Later, the color difference of FG-UV-CD100 films was observed to correlate well with microbial growth and TVB-N release in skinless chicken breast samples. At the same time, a custom-designed smartphone application (SmartFood) was developed to be used with the FG-UV-CD100 film for quantitative estimation of food freshness in real-time. The proposed food freshness monitoring platform reveals a great potential to minimize global food waste and the outbreak of foodborne illness.