Saturday, May 18, 2024

Funding boost for technology which extends shelf-life of food produce

A company whose flagship technology increases the shelf-life of food produce and reduces waste has secured £750,000 from investors to support its rollout across the UK and internationally.

The funding boost for OSY Group will accelerate its commercialisation of Xtend, an antimicrobial packaging coating which enables a range of food types, including fruit and vegetables, to stay fresh in their packaging for longer.

It will also enable OSY Group to expand its team, who are based at the Manchester International Office Centre near Manchester Airport.

Marc Braterman, chief executive of OSY Group, said: “Currently 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted or lost each year globally, and between eight and 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions result directly from food waste.

“We aspire to lead the charge in global food waste reduction through our innovative technology, as well as helping to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and food poverty, supporting grocers as they strive to achieve their sustainability targets, and enabling food producers to tap into more export markets.

“This latest funding round is a major milestone as it will enable us to accelerate the commercialisation of Xtend in the UK and internationally, while also focusing on growing our team. We are looking to create a number of roles in the coming months in line with our strategy.”

Xtend is a water-based antimicrobial coating for packaging surfaces. It leaves microscopic pins on the packaging surfaces that puncture and kill microbes and slow the natural spoiling process that affects the fresh produce within.

It has undergone extensive testing at independent laboratories, universities and other facilities, which has proven the technology to be food safe and compliant with the Food Contact Materials regulations for fresh produce, said Marc.

Testing has shown that Xtend extends shelf-life by multiple days on various forms of packaging, he added.

Trials of Xtend have also been conducted with a major UK grocer as well as leading soft fruit producers and large European packaging companies.

Marc said: “These trials, in addition to the extensive testing carried out at facilities in the UK, have demonstrated that Xtend maintains freshness for longer and therefore significantly contributes to reducing food waste.

“It can be easily integrated into existing packaging production, and has a range of other applications beyond food produce due to its direct coating qualities.”

The latest investment, from three new individuals and one existing backer, follows a £250,000 equity fundraising last year and an award from Innovate UK through its ‘Better Food for All’ competition to support companies forging innovative ways to tackle nutrition challenges. Innovate UK’s funding is supporting OSY’s ongoing research and development.

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