A Danish university spin-out has developed a patented technology to convert unsold fruits and vegetables into purée, suitable for use in the food processing industry. In order to continue their expansion, they are looking for supplier agreements with producers of fruits and vegetables, which regularly have large amounts of surplus, unsellable stock, including soft fruits, berries, apples, pears, carrots and beet crops.
The small Danish spin-out company was established in 2018 to help mitigate the challenge of food waste. The founder realised that almost 50% of nutrition from food produced in the world was lost somewhere along the value chain. In many cases, food cannot be sold in retail outlets because it contains cosmetic or aesthetic blemishes, which are otherwise perfectly good for human consumption, or because it has too short a shelf life.
The company designed a patented process to use surplus fruits and vegetables and convert them to a heat-treated, aseptic purée with a long shelf life of between 6-24 months. The product can be used as an ingredient for food production, be processed as a powder, or used for extraction of food colouring, vitamins, and flavours.
The company has agreements with a number of suppliers but is looking to augment this by identifying and contracting with companies which have a regular supply of fruit and vegetables under a supplier agreement. As the machines are designed with a capacity of 1000 kg per hour, a total of more than 3000 tons per year can be produced by each machine. As a result, this would suit suppliers of seasonal fruit such as strawberries, apples, and pears, as well as those with access to surplus production of carrots, and beets, which have a longer growing season and longevity.
Over the longer term, the Danish company is interested in placing production machines closer to the suppliers in a number of countries.
- Type of partner sought: The company is looking for producers or wholesalers of fruits and vegetables with regular surplus production, or with production that has to be sent to landfill due to cosmetic or aesthetic issues, but which are otherwise of food grade quallity.
Ideally, the suppliers would have access to fruits and vegetables from a variety of other producers, ensuring a variety of types of purée, and throughout the year. For this reason, suppliers of vegetable crops such as carrots and beets are also of interest, as this gives a longer production window and the ability to run the production all year round.
- Specific area of activity of the partner: The ideal supplier would be a regional cooperative or large producer, offering both soft fruits, apples and pears, as well as with access to root vegetables.
They would typically have experienced and documented disposal rates for their harvest, and be motivated to reduce these rates, by finding relevant food channels.
There are no geographic restrictions for the supplier, apart from regarding a regular (almost) all year round supply of produce, which means that southern Europe is likely to be of interest. However, other solutions including large greenhouse-based producers from other regions are also of interest.
- The business model allows fruit and vegetable suppliers to find a market for surplus fruits and vegetables which would otherwise end up in landfills. Not only does this benefit the environment, in terms of more effectively use of agriculture, but it also increases income in rural areas.
- The machines can be located close to production areas, further reducing environmental impact and reducing transport costs for both the seller and buyer.
- The products generated by the patented process have a long shelf life, making them easy to use in the food processing industry, further increasing the likelihood of continued, long-term supplier agreements.
- The products can be made in both puréed and powder form, encouraging new innovation within the industry.
Already on the market