Startups are helping grocers extend shelf life with solutions ranging from temperature-sensing technology to plant-based preservative formulas.
Innovation is coming for the global supply chain, from blockchain-based tracking solutions to incubators launched by major international shipping ports.
Startups are on zeroing in on the global food supply chain, gaining attention from VC investors and corporates alike. These companies aim to extend the shelf life of produce and proteins, which often travel thousands of miles before making it to grocery stores.
Shelf life extension is no small matter: approximately one-third of all food is wasted annually across the globe, contributing 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Shelf life extension also prevents the consumption of potentially spoiled food, reducing foodborne illnesses.
Beyond benefits to public health and the environment, there are also business benefits to the tech. Food waste costs the US grocery retail space $18B per year, according to a study by ReFED. A reduction in food waste could provide indispensable savings to grocery retailers that infamously operate on razor-thin margins.
Startups in this sector are developing a variety of solutions — from oxygen-monitoring sensors inside freight containers to plant-based preservative formulas — to preserve freshness as food moves through every stage of the global supply chain.
Below, we look at who stands to benefit most from the technology, as well as some key players to watch.
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Who will benefit?
The development of shelf life extension has implications across the global food supply chain and beyond. Many stakeholders stand to gain from this technology: