AgShift, a startup that uses computer vision and deep learning to determine food quality in the supply chain, is broadening its capabilities beyond produce into edible nuts and seafood.
We named AgShift as one of our Food Tech 25 companies last month because of the way it allows produce buyers and sellers to come to an objective price. AgShift’s software lets inspectors take a picture of fruit with their mobile phone and upload it to the cloud where AgShift’s deep learning algorithms would assess its quality (color, bruising, etc.) and base that against USDA, or other customized ratings, to provide a food grade.
AgShift is expanding this type of objective algorithmic grading to inspect edible nuts, starting with cashews, and is in the process of exploring seafood inspections.
To do this, AgShift has developed its own hardware to do bulk analysis. This analyzer is an enclosed box with cameras optimized for deep learning that is installed on-site at a food processing facility. Food, in this case cashews, is loaded into the analyzer which takes pictures of the product and sends the images through AgShift’s platform for analysis and grading.
Miku Jha, AgShift Founder and CEO, told me that using the analyzer on-site allows for better, and more efficient, large-scale assessments. She said that traditionally cashews are examined by hand, with inspectors looking at one or two pounds of nuts at a time. That takes time, and after being touched, those particular nuts need to be discarded. Both time and waste can add up when you’re processing literally tons of cashews. Using AgShift’s analyzer, sampling can be done faster and samples do not need to be thrown out because of the workflow at the processing facility.
Jha said that AgShift has finalized production units of its analyzer, and that the company has already been working with a global nut processor doing inspections and assessing the quality of their cashews.
AgShifts’s expansion into seafood is not as far along. Jha said that AgShift’s deep learning models can help the seafood supply chain with objective species identification and freshness assessment, as well as determine any change in quality of fish as they move through the supply chain. The company is still looking for its first customers in that field.
AgShift isn’t alone in its computer vision and deep learning approach to food inspection. Intello Labs uses the same type of technology to help farmers get a fair price from buyers in India, and it too is eyeing a move into seafood. Here at home, Walmart is using its Eden technology to assess general food freshness.
Earlier this year, AgShift raised its first $2 million seed round and announced it is working with RJO Produce marketing.