Chicago-based Hazel Technologies has received a second phase of funding through the USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme.
The company will use the US$600,000 development grant to develop its range of shelf-life extension technologies for fresh produce, as it targets further exploration into the export marketplace and aims to reduce food wastage around the world.
“The USDA awarded this grant based off endorsements from growers who have tested our technologies,” said Aidan Mouat, CEO and co-founder of Hazel Technologies.
“Our early grower-packer partners have been able to reduce labor costs, increase grower returns, and access new markets with our products. We are humbled to be awarded this second-phase of funding from the USDA to further our research and expand our credibility.”
Hazel received a US$100,000 first-round development grant from the USDA in 2016 to develop its Hazel suite of technologies. Second-phase recipients were only eligible if they were awarded the first-phase and demonstrated early stages of credibility amongst the industry.
The Hazel product line is a suite of easy to apply packaging inserts for protecting post-harvest quality in fresh produce categories like tomatoes, melons, tree fruit, kiwifruit and avocados.
The company said the most recent round of funding will be used to generate more data with current trial partners, to conduct academic studies on performance, and to expand operations in a new office space in the Western Growers Association Innovation Centre in Salinas, California.