- Team ThinkAg
Sufresca- Extend Agricultural Profitability
Updated: Jan 7, 2021
About 45% of fruit and vegetables produced worldwide do not find their way to our plates, while at the same time, according to the UN FAO, nearly one tenth of people suffer from hunger. Meanwhile, global demand for agricultural outputs is forecast to increase as a result of population and income growth, as well as consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables due to growing awareness of healthier diets.
Food loss occurs at the production and distribution stages due to financial and infrastructural limitations. Food waste relates mainly to food discarded by retailers due to quality standard requirements, or by consumers when spoiled due to over-purchasing and poor home-storage.
Sufresca develops edible coatings for fruits and vegetables, prolonging shelf life and help create a plastic free world where costly food loss and waste is a thing of the past.
Sufresca, an Israeli start-up founded in 2019 by Prof. Amos Nussinovitch of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, develops biodegradable and bio-driven edible coatings to prolong shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables in several weeks, while maintaining freshness as if just harvested; reducing dependency on costly and environmentally damaging practices, such as cooling and packaging.
Fresh fruit and vegetables have limited shelf-life, ranging from a few days to few weeks at ambient conditions. Maintaining high quality of fresh produce over long periods of time is challenging, since after harvest, continuation of respiration and metabolic functions go on. Though postharvest changes in fresh fruits and vegetables cannot be stopped, it is possible to minimize their effect with some precaution such as temperature, relative humidity and atmosphere control technologies and proper packaging. On the other hand, these solutions are increasingly scrutinised in addressing the challenge of sustainably feeding an ever-growing world population under the threat of climate change.
Sufresca targets those perishables that are challenging to coat or for which exist but only a few outstanding solutions, such as vegetables, edible bulbs and some fresh snacks.
Led by Mrs. Efrat Boker Ferri as CEO, Sufresca constantly develops new technologies in order to tailor its edible coatings to the specific properties of the coated commodity, taking into account variabilities of cultivar, season, stage of maturity at harvest, different environmental conditions and common postharvest handling practices. Sufresca’s products are all designed to be inexpensive and easily applied; therefore, cost-effective and seamlessly integrated within existing packinghouse production lines via standard equipment.
Sufresca’s unique pepper coating yields a considerable reduction in the weight loss rate, and coated peppers are firmer, retain their “fresh” texture and suffer no effect on taste and general sensorial evaluation. Similar coatings are available for tomatoes, cucumbers and mangoes. The presence of the coating is virtually unnoticeable, while the fruit maintains its natural appeal for weeks.
For garlic bulbs and onions, Sufresca has developed a first and unique film that not only reduces weight loss and mechanical damage, and maintains quality during months of storage, but it also provides beautiful glossy bulbs that do not tear apart, protection against pests and increase in crop output when planted.
Finally, a novel selective protective coating technology is designed to address issues of fluid loss in some minimally processed fruits, such as pomegranate arils, and later on berries and table grapes. The coating treats only openings in the surface or “injured” areas, acting as a “bandage” of sorts. By this, it prevents the escape of fluids that accelerate decay of the entire batch.