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Pymwymic leads investment in food waste reduction tech 

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Published: 23 March 2023

The Dutch-based impact investor has lead a €2.75m investment in OneThird, a company which has developed AI-powered infrared scanning technology aimed at reducing food waste.

OneThird’s scanners deploy spectroscopy to analyse the condition of food | OneThird

Dutch-based impact investor Pymwymic has led a €2.75m 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. 

Existing OneThird investors Halma Ventures Limited, Shift Invest and Oost NL also participated in the late seed funding round, which brings total funding raised to date for the privately-held company to more than €5.5m.

OneThird, based in Enschede in the Netherlands, was founded in 2019 as part of a digital incubator established by UK-based Halma. The company said it would use the new funding to expand to new markets and support fresh produce supply chains in Europe and North America. 

The technology currently enables growers, food distributors, retailers and consumers to predict the shelf life of tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and avocados. Its use is set to be expanded to include grapes, bananas, mangoes and raspberries in late 2023. Using the technology has been shown to eliminate up to 25% of waste across the produce supply chain, according to the company. 

OneThird’s handheld and other scanners deploy spectroscopy to analyse the condition of food. The data is then processed using AI-derived algorithms within a second to provide practical information for food supply chain companies. That improves their ability to optimise “best before” codes, decide whether to ship to closer destinations to maintain shelf life, or divert produce that would otherwise spoil by turning it into processed items such as smoothies, dry frozen products and soups.  

Marco Snikkers, OneThird’s CEO, said the loss or waste of a third of global food produced annually was not only inefficient but a major social justice issue, given the extent of hunger globally, with multiple causes across the supply chain from agricultural production to  landfill. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that the financial cost of food wastage amounts to about $1 trillion each year. 

“The latest seed funding we’ve received will allow us to accelerate the implementation of OneThird’s technology beyond our initial customer base, expand internationally and increase the impact we can create for our customers to help them generate higher ROI [return on investment], and also meet their sustainability and ESG goals,” he said. 

Food tech sector

Backing for OneThird is the latest in a series of food tech-related investments by Pymwymic, an impact investment cooperative of over 100 individuals, families, and entrepreneurs, founded in 1994.  

Its currently active Healthy Food Systems Impact Fund II is a venture capital fund targeting companies aiming to improve food systems through innovative technologies. The fund’s first investment was made in 2021, as part of financing for soil analysis tech firm Biome Makers. In September 2022, Pymwymic announced an investment of an undisclosed amount in crop intelligence provider Aurea. It was also part of a Mirova-led group of investors, whose injection of $33m into Naϊo Technologies, a French agricultural robotics firm, was announced in December 2022. 

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