USDA funds growth of Hazel Tech product for berries
Hazel Technologies, Chicago, has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to further develop its Endure packaging insert to prolong fresh produce shelf life, with a focus on berries.
The funding, from the USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, will help Hazel Tech scale production of the Endure insert for a berry supply chain solution to fight spoilage and food waste, according to a news release.
Hazel Tech CEO Aidan Mouat said the USDA funding provides “third-party validation” of the product’s effectiveness. It’s the third such grant from the USDA, with total funding approaching $1 million, according to the release.
Endure availability is currently limited to growers, packers and retailers in select markets, according to Hazel Tech.
Endure, when inserted into packaging, “releases a proprietary blend of antimicrobial vapor at a slow measured rate, which results in an average 40% lower rate of fungi like botrytis and anthracnose in the supply chain, according to the release.
Hazel Tech uses “natural, plant-derived compounds” to produce shelf-life extending products, according to the release.
The company’s products have been used in more than one billion pounds of produce shipments this year, and expects to increase that to 3.2 billion pounds in 2020, according to the release.