By Carien Scheepens
What it is
Every year In the United States, Europe, and other western cultures 220 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables are wasted. This means every consumer waste roughly 95 – 115 kilograms in one year! There is an overproduction which makes it unable to eat all of it before it reaches the expiry date.
But what if we could extend the expiration date of vegetables, fruit and even meat?
Cambridge Crops inc. is a company run by Livio Valenti and Jacques Grislain. Together with MIT and Tufts, they have developed an innovating biomaterial food coating. This food coating can dramatically extend shelf-life of perishable foods without the need for a cold chain. The coating is directly sprayed on the food. It is 100% edible, tasteless and you can not even see it. During the testing progress, they were able to double the life of bananas, but it can also be used on other crops, flowers, and even meat.
Why it is cool
With this coating, Cambridge Crops is not only able to dramatically reduce food waste. They are also able to improve the logistic chain in developing areas. Which means they could get fresher food like crops to these areas before it is rotten away. This would improve the health and quality of life of the people living there. Cambridge Crops inc. also has an impact on developing areas where there is a strong lack of cold chain. This means there is barely any or no temperature-controlled supply chain in these areas. The coating protects food without the need for cooling it, and especially in places without these necessities, the coating would make a big change in their way of living. They would be able to eat more easily spoiled food and also save some for later.
Future growth potential
The biomaterial coating has a big impact on the daily life of people and the environment. We won’t be needing as many crops as we used to. If there is less food production, we do not need as much land for this and the environmental impact on nature by agriculture and the food sector will decrease.
The Biomaterial coating would also have an impact on the cattle. We all know the meat consumption is under fire. With this coating, the real carnivores would still be able to eat some meat. This is because al the produced meat can last twice as long which means we do not need to produce as much. Your minced meat can last longer than a few days in your fridge, it does not even need a fridge. The cattle industry would still exist but it is not as much of a burden.
Last but not least, The coating also influences the quality of life of people, especially the ones with a lower income. They are not able to afford as much fruit and vegetables because they are more expensive and do not last as long as the unhealthy food. The coating will improve the value for money and buy these fruits would be more tempting.
In my eyes, this coating is one of the best innovations of this century mostly because it improves everyone’s quality of life, not only the life of the rich.