Israeli startup Sufresca, who makes an edible coating that extends the life of fruits and vegetables, has raised a $500,000 seed round from agtech VC Rimonim, according to AgFunder News. The round brings Sufresca’s total funding so far to $1.3 million.
Sufresca’s edible fruit and vegetable coating is meant to extend the shelf life of post-harvest produce and in doing so cut down on food waste in the home. An edible coating also eliminates the need to use plastic packaging, such a shrink-wrap, for produce items in the store. Sufresca’s technology uses liquid formulas that when applied to fruits and vegetables creates a “breathable coating” that the company claims can extend shelf life by several weeks. The approach is similar to post-harvest food waste solutions currently being done by Apeel Sciences, whose plant-based powder can be mixed with water then applied to produce to prevent spoilage.
While Apeel is currently focused on avocados, Sufresca is starting out with fruits and vegetables for which no edible coating solution exists right now. Think tomatoes, garlic, and pomegranate arils, as opposed to apples or oranges, which typically get coated in wax. The company says future products will include cucumbers, melons, bananas, and asparagus, among others.
Coating fruits and vegetables is one way to fight food waste and reduce spoilage. There are a growing number of other solutions coming to market. Hazel Technologies makes biodegradable packaging inserts that extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. StixFresh, who won the Startup Showcase award at this year’s SKS, has created a sticker that when applied to produce releases protective compounds that cloak the fruit or vegetable to extend its shelf life.
Roughly one third of the world’s food goes to waste each year, and 14 percent of that food is lost between harvest and retail, according to the United Nations. Startups up and down the supply chain are now testing ways to combat this problem. We can expect to see many more food preservation tactics like those of Sufresca and Apeel as the food waste problem gets bigger and we (hopefully) get smarter about fighting it.
According to AgFunder, Sufresca, which was founded in 2018, is aiming to have at least some of its products reach Europe and North America within two years.