A GLOBAL PROBLEM
Freshly picked produce has a long way before it reaches the consumers. Kit takes a long time to reach the retailers. It is a constant struggle to ensure that the produce arrives in its best possible condition. The losses due to food spoilage result in lower margins which affect the retailers.
The freshness of food produce suffers when they are shipped long distance by sea. Air delivery is faster but the high transportation cost would result in higher fruit price leading to declining demand. It is estimated that in the process of transporting produce to supermarkets around 52% of fresh fruits and vegetables go to waste before even making it to the consumers.
BIRTH OF StixFresh
StixFresh originated in a rural area south of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Zhafri Zainudin was trying to help one of his friends. He owned a mini stall and was complaining about losing money due to fruits going bad. According to his friend, there was no way to stop nature from taking its course. Inevitably, the fruit will turn ugly and lose its flavour. This got Zhafri thinking and the outcome was StixFresh.
With the goal of making the fruit last longer naturally, Zhafri spent around 3 years to perfect the sticker in terms of efficacy and manufacturing process. After that, StixFresh was officially established in 2017. Zhafri further added,” We did joint development with our local university UPM, research institutions and agencies such as Mardi and SIRIM, and recently with Bogor University and University of South Australia.”
StixFresh started out with two founders- Zhafri Zainudin as the CEO and Buquari Othman as the head for operation and marketing. Three more Co-founders joined the team as the company grew. All of them had a strong vision to put an end to food wastage.
Moody Soliman, CEO and Co-founder of StixFresh said: “Almost every fruit and vegetable already has a sticker on it, so we aren’t adding anything to the supply chain.”
A NATURAL WAY TO PREVENT SPOILAGE
StixFresh developed a solution formulated from natural ingredients that can extend the shelf life of fruits up to 14 days.
StixFresh is a labelling sticker that can reduce the disease attacks, therefore, prolonging the freshness and shelf life of certain types of fruits. StixFresh stickers are coated with a mixture of ionised sodium chloride and bee-wax, which slows down the fruit ripening process by removing ethylene- the ripening hormone in fresh produce from the air around the product. Studies have shown that the ionised sodium chloride used in StixFresh releases energy slowly and gradually. This retards bacterial growth, thus slowing down spoilage and over-ripening. However, the fruit continues to ripen without getting spoilt.
In the beginning, StixFresh only targeted to increase the shelf life of Mangoes. Later on, it was found that the stickers also worked on other types of fruits. These fruits have similarities like size, skin texture and diseases and fungal attack. Thus, StixFresh works best on Mango, Avocados, Papaya, Dragon Fruits, apple and pears. Studies have also shown that StixFresh stickers have also increased sweetness, caused higher retention of moisture, the sustained cellular structure resulting in increased firmness. These stickers can be applied anywhere along the post-harvest process – packaging, shipping, distribution or even retail.
The team claims that the stickers are safe and it’s possible to eat them without harm. The StixFresh stickers are one-time use only i.e. once peeled off they lose their efficacy.
StixFresh has launched an Indiegogo campaign to spread awareness about their stickers. The team at StixFresh is working on the application of the sticker on additional fruits and vegetables, such as berries and tomatoes.
Read more on some Technical advancements in Food industry
Visit the official page of StixFresh India
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