Developer of all-natural preservatives intended to extend the life of food products
The organic waste saga continues with today's focus on shelf-life extension solutions. This category encompasses a range of startups designed to prolong the usable life of organics to reduce waste and spoilage throughout the supply chain. Entrants in this segment include Innoscentia, which has developed smart tags to track the rate of spoilage, and Ripelocker, a manufacturer of low-pressure vacuum chambers to extend the postharvest life of perishables. Good ideas all, but for my money, I'd focus on companies like Mori, which has developed a natural protective coating that dramatically extend the time to spoilage. Here's how it works.
Mori leverages naturally derived silk proteins to create a natural, ultra-thin ( water-based coating that slows down spoilage and extends the shelf life of perishables by up to 2X. The coating is invisible and tasteless,
Licensed for use in the U.S., Mexico, and Costa Rica, and is protected by 25 patents, Mori's coating limits water loss, keeps air out to prevent oxidation, and makes it difficult for bacteria, yeast and mold to grow.
Mori can coat 70-80% of foods with its primary formula, which includes most produce and meat products, which is a clear differentiator in the segment.
The Company has obtained Self-Designated GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status from the FDA, for its silk proteins to be used in a wide range of food applications (Link).
Headquarters: Boston, MA
Year founded: 2016
Business model: B2B
Capital raised: $85.75M
Current Valuation: $212.35M
Not to beat a dead horse, but food waste is a massive challenge. As I've already delved into the issue in detail (check out my BioGreen360 post), I'll just give the quick and dirty here.
1.4 billion tons of food is discarded globally each year. Of that figure, the United States is the largest contributor, discarding nearly 40 million tons annually, which represents 35% of the total US food supply.
Per Feeding America, Americans waste more than $218 billion each year on food.
Food waste is also a massive contributor to global emissions. Per EPA estimates, U.S. food loss and waste represents 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions (excluding landfill emissions) – equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants.
Now that you're depressed by the enormity of the problem, let's include the effects of packaging and supercharge the issue.
The sheer scale of production leads scientists to predict that plastic production will account for 56 gigatons of CO2 emissions from now until 2050
Containers and packaging make up over 23% of the material sent to landfills in the US
Some 12.7 million metric tons of humanity’s discarded plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. Packaging makes up a majority of the litter that ends up on our beaches and other waterways. This is a problem because fish, birds, and other aquatic wildlife are often harmed by ingesting plastic bags and other debris from packaging
What I Like
The market drivers - There's a clear rationale for changing the way we address food waste and Mori appears well-positioned to facilitate meaningful change.
Applicability - The broad applicability of the coating should aid adoption and provides a clear differentiator from produce-only coatings (Apeel Sciences).
What I'm Concerned About
Crowded market - Mori is one of several companies developing natural coatings to limit spoilage, and is playing catch-up with the market leaders (Apeel Sciences has raised $743M to date)
Application method - Mori has not provided any material describing how the coating is applied to perishables. Food loss occurs at all levels of the supply chain - the earlier the coating is applied the greater effect it will have.
What Do you Think?
Add a comment below. I do my best to address any questions/comments posed.