Today we are facing “increasing demand for fresh food globally, longer times for food to reach its end market, and stricter food legislations”, according to Purfresh CEO & President Dave Cope. Solving these environmental and business challenges are seen has the Holy Grail of the food industry; and they are also Purfresh’s Raison d’être.
The California-based company combines scientific and high-tech expertise to provide solutions that enable the food industry to maximize yields, enhance the quality of food grown, reduce waste of what is produced, and ensure the safety of produce for consumers around the globe. After already successfully raising several round of venture financing and from top-tier venture capitalists, as well as obtaining 1,500 customers in over 50 countries, Mr Cope said that “Purfresh is now looking for around $15 million to scale up its distribution lines and direct sales channels”.
Purfresh offers both pre-harvest crop protection and post-harvest food storage and transportation solutions. Here’s a little more info about their offerings:
Pre-harvest crop protection – “SPF45 for your crops” – Increases in temperatures, harsher growing conditions, and water scarcity have caused what is known as solar stress in plants. Solar stress – which is caused when plants receive too much UV light or IR heat – is a serious threat leading to losses of up to 50% in marketable crop yield through crop discolouring, dehydration and quality reduction. Purfresh’s pre-harvest crop protectant range, Purshade, which is sprayed on crops, provides an even film of millions of microscopic “prisms,” or mirrors, which reflect harmful UV light and IR heat while still allowing photosynthetic light to reach the plant.
The benefits? An increasable marketable yield of up to 30% through reduced cullage, a 40% reduction in sun damage resulting larger and better colored fruit, and more effective use of available water resources by plants.
Post-harvest – Keeping food fresh and safe enroute – Once fresh produce is harvested, it can take anywhere from 14 to 54 days to be transported for final consumption. During this time, suppliers have zero visability over what happens to food on its way to market. This places food at risk of decay, overripening, and contamination from foodborne pathogens. Estimates show that 30% of all shipments are in some way adversely affected by microbial contamination before reaching the consumer and that there is $35 billion of waste in the U.S. perishable supply chain annually.
To solve these problems Purfresh has developed two solutions: Purfresh Cold Storage, and Purfresh Transport.
- Purfresh Cold Storage generates ozone from oxygen in the air on‐site and delivers defined, low‐dose, specific concentrations of gaseous ozone into the atmosphere. This acts as a powerful disinfectant in controlled atmosphere (CA) and regular atmosphere (RA) refrigerated storage rooms and minimizes decay, controls ripening, and reduces foodborne pathogens during food storage.
- Purfresh Transport integrates with the food container’s refrigeration unit to precisely control and evenly distribute the ozone molecules throughout the cargo — treating the fruit, the packaging, and the surfaces inside the container. In addition, the system actively monitors and adjusts the ozone levels throughout the voyage based on changes in the condition of the cargo or the atmosphere inside the container.
For use in tandem with both Purfresh Cold Storage and Purfresh Transport, the company has also developed an integrated informatics system called Intellipur which gives customers a “holistic view of the integrity of food on its way to market”, Mr Cope said. The system provides customers with visibility into – and automated control over – conditions in the cold chain environment, 24/7 remote monitoring and diagnostics, automated alarming and mobile alerting, food safety reporting, and intelligent traceability.
Purfresh has proven its success through delivering a unique solution in the clean technology industry. For those who want to meet with Purfresh, they will be presenting at the Cleantech forum San Francisco between 14-16 March 2011.
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