Sustainable food packaging has become a hot topic for consumers, and VCs have been doling out serious deals to startups extending produce shelf life. Israeli plastic-free packaging firm TIPA and Netherlands shelf-life extension company PerfoTec are hoping to tackle both problems at once by pooling resources.
TIPA’s UK sales director Gary Tee told AFN the company’s material has an oxygen, carbon dioxide, and moisture “transmission rate” which, combined with PerfoTec’s” laser micro-perforation technology,” enables “optimal conditions to keep fruit and vegetables fresh and [extend] the shelf-life of produce and flowers.”
The result of the two companies combining forces is a laser micro-perforated compostable film that can both reduce food waste by prolonging shelf life by as much as 100%, and cut down on plastic pollution.
TIPA’s packaging acts and looks like a conventional plastic film, but decomposes like organic waste, leaving no toxic substances or harmful particles behind. Its materials are already adapted to be used with existing packaging industry equipment, too.
Founded in 2010, the company operates in Israel, Europe, the US, and Australia. It sealed a $4 million late-stage venture round in December 2020 from Tel Aviv-listed investment vehicle Millennium Food-Tech, bringing its total funding to $53 million.
Launched 15 years ago, PerfoTec offers a laser technology that can increase produce shelf-life by affecting packaging’s permeability. The equipment measures the respiration rate of fresh produce and adapts the packaging accordingly. Slowing down the natural respiration rate effectively puts the fresh produce to sleep, according to the company.
The duo’s joint offering is already available in global markets, according to Tee. The partners plan to keep experimenting with future applications of their new product, including lidding film for punnets and trays, she added.
Check out AFN’s list of 25 startups innovating with sustainable packaging solutions here
Adding fuel to the sustainable packaging fire is government pressure around the world to clean up landfills and natural spaces littered with single-use plastics. The US Food & Drug Administration, for example, recently provided new guidance on using recycled plastics in food packaging.
A number of influential companies are also taking note. Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, hopes to reach 100% recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging status for its private label brands by 2025; while Kellogg’s is aiming to switch to completely reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging by the end of the same year.
This all adds up to more demand for new and innovative packaging solutions – which is good news for startups and investors interested in the space.