McCain foods invests in vertical farming company TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture
McCain Foods, the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, has made a strategic investment in local produce provider and agri-tech company TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture.
Founded in 2011, the Canadian agri-tech firm has developed a “proprietary indoor vertical farming technology” which allows the company to grow leafy green vegetables in a sustainable way, without the use of pesticides.
The technology can be utilised 365-days a year and may be used anywhere such as urban centres or remote communities with harsh climates.
McCain Foods says that the investment is in direct support of its innovation strategy.
Vertical farming has become a growing trend in the agri-tech sector and is hoped to be a sustainable solution to the planet’s growing demand for food.
By 2050, the world's population is expected to be almost 10 billion and due to urbanisation we are using more arable land every day therefore many believe vertical farming could be the answer to this growing challenge.
According to some studies, vertical farming is almost 30 times more efficient than traditional agriculture, uses up to 95% less water, and takes up less square footage of land on average.
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TruLeaf currently sells its products in Atlantic Canada under the GoodLeaf brand, in both the retail and food service markets.
Commenting on the partnership, Max Koeune, President and CEO of McCain Foods Limited said, "McCain has a 60-year track record of advancing agricultural practices to the benefit of crop quality and environmental standards.
"Over this time, we have worked closely with many research institutions, technology partners and of course, our global network of growers.
He added: “We remain committed to this approach and as such are always looking to partner with innovative businesses like TruLeaf to continue to set new standards for environmental care and efficient crop production, through advancing agricultural technology".
The financial sum of the investment was not revealed and McCain was the only investor in the funding round.
Gregg Curwin, TruLeaf Founder and CEO noted: “We are extremely pleased to be entering this next phase of development and growth with such a strong leading global food company as McCain Foods.”
“We believe this partnership will accelerate TruLeaf’s farm build-out, providing high quality, local, fresh produce to more Canadians while also expanding our reach to other countries around the world.”
SokoFresh's cold storage units will stop food waste in Kenya
A foodtech company in Kenya is using solar energy to help smallholder farmers keep harvested produce cool to prevent food waste.
SokoFresh is a member of The Circulars Accelerator, an initiative to help entrepreneurs scale innovations that will help the world move towards a circular economy – in which waste is eliminated and resources are used again and again.
New cold storage units to prevent food waste
Small-volume farmers who grow avocados, mangos and French beans in Kenya, are helping to test the model from SokoFresh, which manages mobile cold storage units, that run on 100% solar energy.
By paying a small amount (1 Kenyan shilling) per kilogram on a pay-as-you-go basis, farmers or produce buyers can affordably access cold storage, when they need it.
SokoFresh plans for 400 cold storage units, in five years, to boost income for 35,000 farmers.
Cold storage units will support Kenya’s farmers
About 90% of Kenya’s agricultural produce comes from smallholders, who don’t have the kind of cold storage solutions available to large-scale producers. This means lots of produce perishes in outside temperatures after being harvested.
“More than 30% of all food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted”, said a representative from SokoFresh says. “Food loss in Africa occurs almost entirely in the production and distribution stages.”
Farmers using the model can earn up to 50% more on their harvest, while buyers receive more and better quality produce.
The cost of logistics is also reduced, because trucks are picking up full loads that have been stored in the cold storage units by multiple farmers.
Enviu, the Netherlands-based impact venture organization behind SokoFresh, hopes to have a network of 400 cold storage units in the next five years. This would help 35,000 farmers, creating 3,000 new jobs in rural areas and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Sokofresh supports UN Sustainable Goal 12
Around 14% of food is lost after harvest on farms and at the transport, storage, processing and wholesale stages, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This food has a value of more than $400b a year.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres last year described food loss and waste as an “ethical outrage.”
By 2030, UN member states have pledged to halve food waste and reduce food loss as part of Sustainable Development Goal 12.
SokoFresh is a part of the solution to food security and ending food waste.