- Chicago-based startup Hazel Applied sciences closed a $13 million Collection B spherical of funding for its shelf life-extending sachets. It was led by Pangea Ventures and S2G Ventures.
- The corporate’s sachets work by inhibiting ethylene, the ripening agent in produce. They are often dropped into bulk crates of fruit and greens, and the corporate says they’ll triple the size of time produce stays contemporary. Greater than 100 pilot trials have been carried out.
- With this funding, Hazel’s complete capital raised sits at $17.eight million. Based on AgFunder Information, the corporate is researching comparable functions for meat merchandise, and plans to launch them through the subsequent 12 months.
Meals waste is a giant drawback. The United Nations’ Meals and Agriculture Group estimates one-third of all meals produced globally is misplaced the place it’s grown, or wasted in retail, manufacturing and consumption.
Hazel is trying to stem the issue at its origin. In contrast to different merchandise available on the market, Hazel’s packets can merely be tossed into bulk crates. The inflow of capital from this funding spherical shall be used to assist Hazel have a look at different packaging options, in accordance with AgFunder Information. This might embody antimicrobial packaging for smaller fruits together with berries and grapes, in addition to compounds to sluggish the spoilage of meat merchandise.
Though no firm has developed an answer to the meals waste drawback that’s fairly like Hazel’s, different merchandise available on the market use completely different strategies to work towards the identical purpose. StixFresh created a pure formulation of secondary metabolites — compounds that shield vegetation uncovered to stresses like temperature, humidity and lightweight fluctuations — and utilized them to the non-sticky aspect of a sticker. On particular person items of fruit, the stickers have proven promise. Along with an extended shelf life, the corporate says the stickers promote sweetness, moisture retention and firmness.
Different options embody protecting edible coatings like these from Apeel Sciences, which cut back ripening velocity. BiOWiSH Applied sciences tapped the facility of microorganisms to extend produce longevity with a liquid wash. Bluapple created an apple-shaped plastic container that may be positioned inside a fridge to assist take up the ethylene gases that fruit and veggies produce. And different startups providing tech-driven shelf-life enhancements embody AgroFresh, BluWrap and Citrosol.
With a big quantity of competitors available in the market, Hazel has its work reduce out for it. One benefit of the corporate’s resolution is that its small packet is a quite simple addition to the packing course of. In contrast to washes, peels and stickers, one packet serves to save lots of a crate of produce with minimal effort and little change to packaging supplies and processes alongside the availability chain. This simple software will even be unlikely to extend prices considerably for producers.
Contemplating there are such a lot of various produce merchandise, in addition to many alternative methods to bundle and transport them, there can’t be a single greatest resolution for all of them to increase shelf life and cut back meals waste. In 2018 alone, enterprise capital buyers doled out $125 million for meals waste discount options, in accordance with ReFED. It is going to be no shock to see different new options seem available on the market as individuals look to trim the meals waste statistics from 40% to 50% of fruit and veggies produced yearly to someplace nearer to zero.