It’s Fresh Ltd secures £6.7 million to grow food waste reduction technology business
It’s Fresh! has secured a £6.7 million investment led by BGF – one of the largest and most experienced growth capital investors in the UK and Ireland – and Zintinus, a German-based venture capital fund, alongside existing investor Praesidium.
Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Burntwood, Staffordshire, It’s Fresh! is a global food technology business that helps extend the shelf-life of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the entire food supply chain to reduce waste and optimise produce quality.
Food waste is a significant economic cost to society, with the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation estimating the cost of global food waste to be $940 billion while also accounting for 8% of global CO2 emissions. Fresh produce is a large contributor to global food waste, with some estimates claiming 40-50% of fresh food is wasted from harvest to post-purchase, with long storage and transit times accounting for a considerable portion of these losses.
It’s Fresh! has commercialised and further developed applications for the patented technology which controls the impact of ethylene emitted by fresh produce, and which ultimately controls the rate of ripening, and the eating quality of that produce. The company’s technology slows the rate of ripening and can be applied across the supply chain from harvest through to transit, to in-store fruit containers, making fresh produce safer, more available, and affordable for growers, distributors, retailers, and consumers.
In contrast to existing technologies that either completely block ripening and flavour development permanently, have insufficient capacity for ethylene removal, require high levels of capital, or are unsafe for direct food contact, the It’s Fresh! solution overcomes all of these issues to deliver a cost-effective solution which is easy to implement.
The combined investment will be used to support the business’ global growth strategy and expansion into new markets, as well as the development of new solutions such as using the company’s unique technology within modified air packaging bags.
Commenting on the deal, Rob Ward, CEO of It’s Fresh!, said: “Our ground-breaking technology rises to the challenge of reducing food waste across the supply chain. We not only deliver shelf-life extension, which reduces waste, but at the same time enable our customers to deliver optimal quality to consumers. We’ve already generated significant traction across our core markets in USA, South America, and Southern Africa, so this latest investment round comes at a pivotal time for the business, setting us up to scale rapidly and fulfil our potential as global leaders in innovative solutions tailored to fresh produce.”
BGF’s Rowan Bird said: “It’s Fresh! is an excellent example of a technology business that’s addressing a critical climate challenge with innovative solutions that benefit the entire fresh produce supply chain. The business has outlined an impressive growth strategy to capitalise on the market opportunity that’s reinforced by strong technical validation and early commercial success. We look forward to working in partnership with the team and its existing investment partners to achieve our combined growth ambitions while supporting a business that’s making a positive climate impact.”
Zintinus’s Olaf Koch said: “Extending the shelf life of fresh products is an exceptional opportunity to both contribute to the sustainability of the industry and generate economic benefits along the entire chain. It’s Fresh! has developed an excellent technology over the years that is easy and effective to use and has a high impact. We look forward to supporting the whole team at It’s Fresh! On their way ahead.
Praesidium’s Graham Ellis said: “In the past year since Praesidium’s initial investment, the company has transformed itself, growing revenue, generating new IP, and has shown how its unique applications address the issues faced by growers and retailers. This Series B investment sets the company up for a strong period of growth, and we remain committed to helping Its Fresh accomplish its goals.