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There was a time when my eyes would gloss over at the mention of supply chains. No offense to this vitally important industry that keeps shelves stocked and stomachs fed. It was just that “supply chain” conjured up images of corrugated boxes, trucks and people checking off items on clipboards.
Not anymore. When I hear the words “supply chain” now, I perk up and pay attention because there’s a good chance a startup is doing something innovative and dare I say, sexy, in the space. Supply chain’s are hot, y’all!
The latest example of this is RipeLocker, which raised a $5 million Series B round of funding this week. RipeLocker makes containers that dynamically adjust factors like oxygen, pressure, CO2 and humidity to extend the life of the perishables inside. The company says its containers have been shown to keep blueberries in “pristine condition” for eight weeks, and extend the life of fresh hops for six weeks.
But RipeLocker isn’t the only company with cool containers. Clean Crop Technologies employs what it calls High Voltage Atmospheric Cold Plasma (HVACP), which essentially zaps the air around post-harvest food with electricity to get rid of toxins, molds and pests while extending the food’s shelf life.
Electricity not cool enough for you? Well, what about blockchain? Varcode uses a combination of special temperature-monitoring barcode sticker and blockchain technology to validate that food traveling through the cold chain remains properly chilled throughout its journey.
The trucks working in that cold chain are also getting an upgrade. Gatik is developing self-driving delivery trucks for the middle mile. These trucks operate between two fixed points like a warehouse and a store location, driving back and forth to manage inventory — only soon they will operate without the driver. Walmart will be rolling out full driverless Gatik trucks on one of its routes this year.
Finally, even food grading along the supply chain is getting cool. Companies like AgShift are using computer vision and AI to automate food grading and bring objectivity to pricing between buyers and sellers.
Aside from all of these innovations being cool, they also serve a much bigger purpose: reducing food waste in the supply chain. From extending the shelf life of food to ensuring it travels properly and arrives where it needs to be on time, supply chain startups are tackling the issues around food waste head-on. That makes all this disruption even sweeter.
Gatik and AgShift will actually be speaking at our upcoming ArticulATE virtual summit to talk about how they are automating the supply chain. You’ll definitely want to hear to what they (and all the speakers at the show) have to say.
xRobotics’ Pizza Assembling Robot Concludes Test with Dodo Pizza – The pizza assembling ‘bot hit an average productivity of 100 pizzas per hour.
Kroger Launches a Recycling Program in Partnership With TerraCycle – The program aims to make it easier for consumers to recycle flexible plastic packaging.
Liberty Produce Gets Grant to Further Develop CEA in Singapore – The compay will install its Liberator farming system, developed in the UK, at the LivFresh hydroponic farm in Singapore, where it will be integrated with existing greenhouse technology.
High-End Strawberry Grower Oishii to Launch ‘Everyday Berry’ via Vertical Farming – The company, famous for its very expensive Omakase Berry, is looking to launch the more affordable “everyday berry.”