Reducing food waste and improving produce quality via real-time fruit monitoring with proprietary sensing technology.
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Fresh produce is wasted all over the world, consuming 7% of global fresh water and creating more C02 emissions than all of US Transportation. We all share this place and must do what we can to protect it.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
This video is a great overview of our goals and mission.
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
The food system we work with is fresh produce distribution. Today, there isn't adequate technology to accurately, quickly and actionably measure and distribute food quality in the volumes that move around the world. This leads to 23% of fresh produce being wasted in one phase of distribution alone - primarily because there just isn't sufficient data to evaluate its quality in time before it spoils. Luckily, economic, environmental and social needs align in this case - wasting less food means a greater profit for distributors and retailers, better food for consumers and less stress on our planet. We are building the technology that makes this possible, via novel sensing mechanism and a new IoT-based analytics and decision platform.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Our IoT-based sensing platform travels with produce supplying real-time data that predicts end of life for produce. By knowing when an item will go bad, we can optimize the fresh produce supply chain and dramatically reduce the amount of food waste. We are currently working with large organizations to reduce waste in apple and pear packing currently and working toward implementing on the retail level. We are very focused on technology and solutions that are implemented in a large-scale manner by the organizations who are in position to directly and largely decrase food waste and improve quality.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
You go to the grocery store - avocados aren't hard or mushy, they're ready to eat now. You have a selection of many delicious and nutritious fruit varieties, instead of just the ones that last the longest. Produce is more affordable and more available to people of all incomes. Carbon emissions are reduced, there is more fresh water available and millions of more hectares of land available. The world, and it's people, are healthier.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
Food waste causes massive harm in many ways. 40% of produce is wasted before it is consumed. Consumers get worse quality food for a higher price, leading to less healthy food being more available. The environment takes a huge hit, with 7% of fresh water being wasted globally and a doubling of US transportation C02 emittance. Farmers, distributors and retailers lose massive sums of money on grown produce that is never sold or consumed. Many governmental and non-profit programs aim to target food waste at the consumer level - but the truth is - unpredictable produce quality that spoils too quickly is a large part of the problem, especially in North America where produce is often bought weekly. The problem lies in the food system, which is limited by the available technology.
By implementing IoT technology that follows produce as it moves, providing shelf life predictions, we can solve many of these problems at their SOURCE. We are setting up a system that is repeatable, scalable, largely impactful and profitable to everyone in the system. That is how you implement lasting sustainability programs - make them the best economic choice for each stakeholder. At the core of our system is novel technology that can for the first time, predict produce shelf life accurately to allow proper handling and routing of produce. The problem isn't that food spoils too quickly, its that the wrong produce is put at the wrong place at the wrong time. This stems from a fundamental lack of information about produce quality. The small amount of information that is available is only true for a single period of time. Produce is alive and thus its shelf life is always in flux.
Modern technology can fuel a system that is less wasteful, more profitable that delivers a healthier, more consistent produce to more people in a way that fits into our current cultures. For example, in North America produce that lasts between the weekly shopping trips can be provided. In Europe, produce that is ready to eat that day can be supplied without concern of inventory spoiling. A lot of the blame falls on a cultural cause of food waste - wasting food at home, for example - but a great system will fit into culture. A true solution finds the easiest way to succeed. Providing produce that fits into current culture is much more easily to implement than changing the buying behaviors of billions of people.
These problems are solvable with technology, and this is what we're working on everyday.