Hazel Technologies announced today it has raised $70 million in Series C funding. The round was co-led by the Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund and Temasek. S2G Ventures, Pangea Ventures, Rhapsody Venture Partners, Asahi Kasai Ventures, Jordan Park Group, and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Foundation also participated. Including the Series C round, Hazel has raised $87 million to date, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
Hazel is among those companies using technology to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables and in doing so cut down on food waste. Its packaging insert, called a sachet, gets placed in bulk boxes of produce after harvest. The sachet emits 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) gas to inhibit ethylene, which plants produce they age. Different crops have different respiration rates and production levels of ethylene, so there are different sachets for different produce types. Currently, Hazel has sachets for 14 different produce types, including avocados, mangos, plums, pears, and cantaloupe. In December of 2020, the company announced Hazel Root, designed to slow the growth of sprouts in potatoes and other root vegetables.
The company said that in 2021, its products will be used with “over 6.3 billion pounds” of fresh produce, preventing more than 500 million pounds of food from going to the landfill.
In 2019, 35 percent of all food in the United States went unsold or uneaten, according to the most recent numbers from nonprofit ReFed. Both national and international goals aim to cut food waste in half by 2030. To do that, waste will have to be reduced at every step of the supply chain, from the farm itself all the way down refrigerators inside the average person’s home.
Hazel’s technology currently aims to prevent loss and waste earlier in the supply chain, just after harvest. Apeel is the other notable competitor here, though it has a completely different approach to extending the lifespan of produce that involves coating individual pieces of produce with a plant-based protection.
Hazel hinted that funds from the Series C round could go towards commercializing a solution meant for further down the food supply chain, at consumer-facing levels like retail and restaurants.