Israeli agritech start-up Sufresca has optimised its invisible bio-edible coating to a wider range of fresh produce, extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables by weeks.
“Our new development of the edible coating is proven to work very well on different cultivars of tomatoes, and specifically cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and even fruits like mangoes,” Sufresca CEO Efrat Boker-Ferri told PackagingInsights.
According to a study, nearly half of all fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted due to spoilage each year. In developing countries, 40 per cent of losses happen at post-harvest and processing, while in industrialised countries, more than 40 per cent of losses happen at consumer and retail levels. That’s why extending the shelf life of fresh produce is crucial in tackling food waste.
“By using our edible coatings, retailers can now use biodegradable packaging without any concern about shelf life,” she adds. The coatings can extend produce preservation by several weeks, saving plastic packaging and extending shipment time.
Founded in 2020, the company results from a 15-year research and development effort led by the start-ups CSO Prof Amos Nussinovitch. He explains that fresh produce was notoriously challenging to coat since each vegetable has its unique traits.
“In our search for the common denominator that connects the plant kingdom, these physiological distinctions had to be addressed,” said Nussinovitch.
The edible, biodegradable, and water-based emulsion is made with natural ingredients that create a breathable coating when applied to fresh fruit or vegetable – slowing down post-harvest maturation, ripening process, subsequent degradation, and decay.
The company is also scaling up its edible coating solution by developing a plug-on business model that retailers and growers of fresh produce can apply to their existing systems.
“Retailers and packaging houses are seeking cost-effective solutions to reduce waste and are kind to the planet,” emphasised Boker-Ferri.
“While we do offer a range of support services and guidance, our system is very straightforward to implement, eliminating the need for Sufresca personnel to be on-site, increasing its affordability.”
The start-up has received a US$3.5 million seed investment led by OurCrowd VC in Israel, followed by the food and agriTech centred group FEAT Investments and other investors. The round supports an initial US$1.3 million previously raised from Agrinnovation and Rimonim.