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Foodtech company behind edible coating to replace plastic wrapping on vegetables secures investment

Published: 17 April 2024

Saveggy is tackling plastic and food waste with its proprietary technology that promises to extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. The company has received backing from impact investors including Unconventional Ventures.

Saveggy’s first product has been tailored to cucumbers which are harvested, washed and dried before being coated with an edible coating | Saveggy

Swedish foodtech company Saveggy has raised €1.76m from impact investors Uncoventional Ventures, agri and forestry investors LRF Ventures, green tech investors Almi Invest GreenTech, as well as angel investors.

Based in Lund, in the south of Sweden, Saveggy has developed an edible coating that can be applied to fresh fruit and vegetables to extend their shelf life, eliminating the need for plastic sleeves and packaging.

The company’s first product has been tailored to cucumbers which are harvested, washed and dried before being coated with Saveggy’s special formula.

Saveggy’s co-founders Vahid Sohrabpour and Arash Fayyazi

Arash Fayyazi, CEO and co-founder of Saveggy, told Impact Investor that the company would use the investment to launch its first product for cucumbers “on an industrial scale”

The company’s B2B model will be aimed at fruit and vegetable growers and wholesalers such as Swedish firm Odlarna, tapping into a €400bn total addressable market (TAM), a measure used to describe the revenue opportunity available for a given product or service.

Commenting on the investment, Thea Messel, general partner at Unconventional Ventures, said: “Our investment in Saveggy was driven by the impressive credentials and substantial expertise of its founders. Their innovative technology tackles the significant challenges our food systems face.”

Messel said she had been particularly impressed by the founders’ perseverance, having refined their formula multiple times to meet higher standards.

“This unwavering commitment to innovation and sustainability aligns perfectly with our mission as impact investors and made our decision to partner with them clear,” she added.

Additive-free formula

Saveggy claims that its eponymously named technology is currently the only available substitute for plastic packaging that meets plastic’s performance in prolonging the shelf life of fruit and vegetables, and the only available edible alternative which complies with EU regulations for fruits and vegetables with edible peels such as the cucumber.

The product is made from an additive-free formula of canola and oats which can be applied as a thin and invisible layer to the fruits and vegetables being treated.

“Our technology stops the degradation of fruit and vegetables by slowing down the transfer of water and gases in and out of fruits and vegetables,” explained Fayyazi.  

Tackling food waste

Impact Investor has previously reported on the growing issue of food waste spotlighting an investment in OneThird, a food tech company that uses AI-powered infrared scanning technology to predict the shelf life of fresh produce more accurately, helping to minimise food waste.

One of the Saveggy’s founders key drivers is the desire to also tackle the issue of food waste. According to Fayyazi, 45% of fruit and vegetables are currently being wasted in supply chains globally.

This figure is backed up by estimates from the Food and Agricultural Organisation, which puts food losses in the production chain, even before they have reached the market, combined with food waste, at around 45% for Europe and at more than 50% for North America and Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, West and Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia and Latin America. Industrialised Asian countries perform the best with between 35-40% of fruit and vegetables either lost or wasted.

“At the same time 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of all fresh water usage can be linked to the agricultural sector. In the US alone, the annual estimated value of wasted fruits and vegetables is around $43bn for retailers and households,” added Fayyazi.

But, he said that technology alone could not address the problem.

“The entire food system needs to be transformed. This includes supply chain systems and technologies used there, regulations as well as consumer behaviour.”

Impact measurement

Messel told Impact Investor that to track the impact of Saveggy’s technology Unconventional Ventures would focus on several metrics that could be all tied to CO2 emissions reductions.

“We’ll measure how much fresh produce, starting with cucumbers, have had their shelf life extended thanks to Saveggy’s coating. We’ll also track the reduction in plastic packaging used annually and calculate the CO2 savings from the reduction in both food waste and plastic usage, using specific data tailored to the types of produce and packaging,” said Messel.

“These measures will help us to monitor and track the direct environmental benefits of Saveggy’s technology as the company scales.”

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