As the company founder explained in this episode FoodNavigator – US Investment for the Future of FoodSometimes too much good – including market potential – can be bad if entrepreneurs spread too thin to make the measurable impact needed to validate concepts and trigger future growth.
The idea for the Nature Reserve came to the founder Anantha Peramuna when she was fed up with fruit and vegetables that her coworkers used to make pampering smoothies and make offices “Smells like a garbage can.”He realized that if he dried the product into powder, there would be less waste and easier to make smoothies.
Wondering whether the same technique can help alleviate 45% of products wasted globally, Peramuna learned that although it is easy to buy surplus products, it is not easy to process them because the facility may be far from the source of the product or there may not be available at the facility to process the product when it’s cooked.
His “Elegant solution”Is to bring processing facilities to farms, retailers, or other points in the supply chain by reducing the entire facility to a mobile unit that can dry or purify the product on site.
“We have a mission to change the way food is processed around the world. So, we miniature this large processing plant into a small cellular trailer so that food can be processed anywhere in the supply chain, “He said.
“The beauty of our technology is that it can go to agriculture, can go to packaging facilities, supermarkets or anywhere and get a surplus and turn it into a stable material on the shelf”That can be sold at a higher price point, creating a new income stream and saving food at the same time, he added.
While the Nature Preserve idea sounds reasonable, the team is not sure where to start building a business that can efficiently run technology and have the biggest impact, which is why it is applied to the coveted place in the SOSV Food-X accelerator program.
“We know we have cool technology that can provide solutions throughout the food value chain, but we really need to figure out where to focus first. So, we need help in business development and we need to be in front of the right people to understand … the food value chain. So, that’s one of the reasons we joined Food-X. We know they have a large network and know they will put us in front of the right people, “Peramuna explained.
Working with Food-X, the team completed the blueprint and tested the individual components of the cellular processing plant, and are now raising funds to build and test the first unit for the next six to 12 months.
As the company navigates the first round of fundraising, the team found other benefits from working with SOSV and its promise for continued investment not only to validate the business but to give confidence to other potential investors in its success.
“Having someone who will make further investments means that a major investor who will join will come with far greater trust,”Said the Peramuna. “It makes life a little easier to find key investors when you have a continued investment committed to the company.”
Concerns about access to food and drink during the COVID-19 outbreak have experienced a steady decline from a peak of more than 75% of consumers on the week of March 18, until the beginning of this month when it increased slightly from 61% during the week of April 22 to 63% on the week of May 6 , according to the latest Consumer Brands Association weekly installments survey An American perspective on a pandemic.
CBA’s industry narrative senior director Katie Denis explained in a blog post on the trade association’s website that the uptick follows news of the closure of meat and poultry processing and the threat of shortages, “The problem 76% of respondents are familiar with.”
This reflects a decrease in consumer confidence in the ability of producers to supply sufficient food expressed by a survey Performed by the International Food Information Council May 7-12 and released May 20.
According to the IFIC survey, 73% of consumers believe that producers can produce enough food to meet consumer needs next month – down from 77% in April when IFIC conducted a similar survey.
Of the various food categories, concerns about access to meat are the highest, according to the IFIC. It found 21% of people worried about running out of meat versus 19% who were afraid of running out of fresh food and 16% of those worried about not having enough healthy food. While access to healthy food is lower on the list of consumer fears, the IFIC noted that it more than doubled from 9% in April.
Despite rising concerns about access to meat and other animal products, IFIC found that about half of consumers consume the same amount of most types of protein. Specifically, it was found that 50% said they consumed the same amount of meat, eggs and milk and vegetable protein.
While concerns about access to food, and meat in particular, have increased since Tyson’s open letter in several newspapers warned about supply chain shortages due to the closure related to coronavirus and meat and poultry facilities, more consumers are now concerned with workers’ health.
“This month, the health of grocery store employees (30%) increased slightly out of staples, non-food items (29%) and the health of other shoppers (28%) as the main concern about food shopping,”According to the latest IFIC survey results.
Likewise, a recent CBA survey found 18% of consumers associate product deficiencies with inadequate coronavirus testing to keep factories running and another 18% cited inadequate personal protection tools for workers.
Even when consumers acknowledge limited access to PPE, 36% report the most important action a grocery store employee can take to improve food safety is to wear a mask when working, followed by 28% who are frequently cited cleaning surfaces, wearing gloves (21%) and provide disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizers (20%), according to IFIC research.
At the same time consumers’ concern for employee safety increased, as did their confidence in packaged goods – partly because of the company’s efforts to protect employees, CBA found.
“In the last survey, 37% of Americans said their confidence in the CPG industry had increased – today, that number had grown to 43%,”Mostly due to employee safety measures, work on the shelves, donations and “A new recognition of the importance of CPG products in their lives,”Denis’s Notes.
This sentiment is also reflected in the IFIC study, which found that more than one third of consumers have a better view of packaged food safety since the outbreak began compared to 20% who have less favorable opinions about packaged food safety.
Overall, while the food industry still has significant obstacles, including managing consumer perceptions, IFIC and CBA research shows that Americans are more confident in much of today’s food supply and food security than at the start of a pandemic.