09 December 2022
During the final pitch round of the Brave New Food Startup Challenge 2022, the American startup Peelon happily received the Jury Prize. With their protective packaging and sprays that are plant-based, biodegradable, odorless and tasteless, they keep fresh fruit and vegetables fresh up to three times longer.
Reducing plastic and food waste
“We are extremely honored for receiving the Startup of the Year Jury Award 2022 and getting recognition from experts in the field,” expressed co-founder and CEO Dr. Taraka Ramji Moturu. Peelon’s main mission is to reduce food waste and replace fossil-based plastics with renewable and compostable alternatives. Foodvalley NL CEO and jury chairman Marjolein Brasz was impressed by all the innovative products, but ultimately chose Peelon as the most promising startup: “We looked at innovation power, impact on sustainability and health, scalability and execution power on team and brand. Peelon was an interesting candidate who addressed two urgent themes: plastic and food waste.”
Longer shelf life
Plastic, usually derived from non-renewable sources, is among the most used materials in food packaging. One of the solutions approached to minimize this impact is the development of food packaging materials made from polymers from renewable sources that, in addition to being biodegradable, can also be edible. Dr. Moturu: “Peelon has two solutions: Peelon-Pro - a spray solution and Peelon-Fresh - a packaging solution. Peelon-Fresh is a 100% biodegradable packaging solution that extends shelf life of fruits and vegetables by three times when used. The spray solution is 100% plant-based and edible - which is completely invisible, tasteless and odorless.”
Tasteless, really? “Yes, really,” says Dr. Moturu. “We did sensory perception blind tests with consumers, and they did not notice or taste it. We have already tested Peelon-Pro and Peelon-Fresh on more than 40 different fresh produce, including leafy greens and microgreens on the market,” says Dr. Moturu. On Peelon’s website you can get insights on the type of fruits Peelon is tested on, and the effect it has. From apples to mango, and from tomato to cilantro – it’s incredibly interesting to look at the difference their coating and packaging technique makes.
Dr. Moturu is hopeful about Peelon’s potential growth: “Our technology can be used in existing plastic manufacturing facilities, which makes it easy to scale up. We are now mainly looking for produce growers and distributors who are actively looking for food waste solutions. In addition, we are also looking for plastic manufacturers who would like to license our technology.”
We are looking forward to seeing what’s next for Peelon and are looking forward to seeing what possible collaborations might come to fruition. Brave New Food can already look back on successful challenges that have resulted in valuable collaborations. For example, previous challenges have led to successful collaborations between established companies and startups, such as Coroos with SUNT, Hocras with GRO and Horizon with Clear.