Agri-supply chain startup WayCool partners Indian Institute of Technology to develop antimicrobial food packaging

INDIA – Chennai-based Agri-supply chain startup WayCool Foods has signed a three year MoU with Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, to develop antimicrobial food packaging material by using biopolymers.

WayCool in a statement said, the objective of the partnership was to develop an economically viable and biodegradable packaging that would retain the freshness of fruits and vegetables for a longer period.

With the new sustainable antimicrobial packaging, WayCool hopes to reduce food wastage across the supply chain by 20 per cent.

“Biopolymer is an environmentally friendly food packaging material. We are happy to collaborate with WayCool Foods to develop this unique solution to enhance product shelf-life and also reduce the overall carbon footprint related to food packaging”, IIT Hyderabad, The Cellulose Group (Head), Mudrika Khandelwal, said.

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Food waste is a major problem in India leading to loss of about 40% of the country’s total harvest.

A recent report estimated that post — harvest losses before food reaches the consumer cost Indian farmers about 92651 crore rupees (about US$12.6 billion) annually.

Globally, UN’s FAO estimates that around 1.3 billion metric tons of food, which is 33% of the total produce, is lost in the post — harvest stage.

The global body predicted that if the current practices continue then the loss would be around 2.1 billion metric tons by 2030.

WayCool distributes its wide range of fresh produce and staples to nearly 20,000 retail outlets, as well as institutional clients.

Stepping up to the challenge, WayCool Foods is looking for an innovative and sustainable way of preventing some of these losses from occuring.

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The agri-supplychain startup says that it would invest close to Rs two million (US$27,408)over a period of three years of the partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology.

“The association with IIT Hyderabad to co-develop a sustainable alternate packaging solution further supplements our in-house research and development and innovation efforts”, company executive vice president Vignesh Kumar Manogaran said.

The collaboration would help the company work closely with the bright minds of India’s premier institutions and strengthen industry-academia partnership, he added.

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