Hazel Technologies Inc., a USDA-supported agricultural technology company delivering new packaging solutions to extend shelf-life, increase sales, and combat food waste, announced it has secured an additional $100,000 grant from the USDA as part of the USDA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The grant recognizes the new Hazel™ Endure technology, an anti-microbial technology which has been proven to extend the shelf-life of both conventional and organic produce, most notably berries.
Using only natural, plant-derived compounds, Hazel™ Endure is a packaging insert that 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. The Hazel™ Endure technology is currently available on a limited scale to growers, packers, and retailers in select markets including the U.S.
"Having USDA-funding for Hazel™ Endure, our next major product line, provides unique third party validation,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO at Hazel Technologies. “This new grant will help us scale production and continue to develop Hazel™ Endure as the top post-harvest quality solution for the berry supply chain, which loses over $600M per year due to spoilage in the U.S. alone.”
The USDA only grants SBIR aid to 12% of companies that apply annually. Earning the grant is a highly competitive process, which includes passing both a technical review from the USDA and securing endorsements from the produce industry following trials of the technology. This is the third SBIR grant awarded to Hazel Technologies in the past three years, totalling nearly one million dollars in funding.
Founded in 2015, Hazel Tech®‘s technologies revolve around the release of active, shelf-life enhancing vapor from packaging materials. Hazel™ products are placed in boxes of bulk produce by packers soon after the time of harvest, extending the shelf-life of produce up to three times by slowing aging in produce and preventing decay.
Hazel®’s patent-pending technologies, tested by many of the country's top academic research programs including UC Davis, Cornell University, and Oregon State University, were used with over 1 billion pounds of fresh produce in 2019, preventing over 85 million pounds of fresh produce from going to waste. In 2020, Hazel expects to be used with over 3.2 billion pounds of fresh produce, preventing over 270 million pounds of fresh produce from going to waste.