Keeping it fresh from the fields to your fridge
Canadians love fresh fruit,
but our landfills do not.
With the cost of groceries increasing at its fastest pace in decades, it would make sense that
Canadians are buckling down and finding ways to save money.
But it seems that Canadian families are doing the opposite.
of food end up in our landfills annually
is thrown out each year per Canadian household
of what is wasted is fruits and vegetables
Waste is a multifaceted problem.
Part of Canada’s food waste problem is attributed to long transport times between farms, distribution centers, and grocery stores - leaving produce susceptible to spoilage. Landlocked provinces face unique challenges in preventing food waste as they are reliant on efficient shipment time for maintaining fresh produce.
A major cause of spoilage is microbial growth including both fungi and Gram-positive bacteria. Stone fruits like peaches have delicate skins, leaving them highly susceptible to rotting.
Current preservation methods to combat these pathogens can cause significant losses in quality, underscoring the need for a sustainable and effective solution for preservation.
However, fruit waste is not our only problem…
Our vision is to use synthetic biology to deliver a sustainable and antimicrobial material to help prolong the shelf life of produce and replace conventional plastic packaging, allowing Canadians to save money and afford healthier purchasing choices.
One of the primary goals of Cellucoat is to extend the shelf life of fruit. Antimicrobial peptides like nisin, can effectively preserve produce from microbes during transport and at the store.
To create a sustainable packaging material for fruit, we knew we needed to find a food-safe material that was not only biodegradable but compostable. Our search narrowed in on bacterial cellulose. We also wanted to give our packaging mechanical properties comparable to conventional plastics, so we are integrating PHB, a bioplastic, into our packaging.
By using recycled fruit waste, natural dye sources, and a co-culture in our production process, we can create a comparable alternative to plastic that is cost competitive, visually appealing, and efficiently produced.