Oct 23, 2017Company researches inserts for produce packing
Hazel Technologies will continue its research into developing new shelf-life extension technologies for fresh produce after receiving a second round of federal funding.
The Chicago-based company will receive a second phase of funding from the USDA through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program based on results it received in the first phase of development. In the competitive SBIR program, recipients are only eligible if they were awarded the first-phase and show signs of early stages of credibility amongst the industry.
With recommendations from partners such as DFI Marketing, a leading California grower-shipper, Hazel Technologies gained credibility and trust amongst the fresh produce industry as a promising solution.
“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.”
The Hazel product line is a suite of easy-to-apply packaging inserts for protecting post-harvest quality in fresh produce categories like tomato, melons, tree fruit, kiwi and avocado.
“For small agricultural businesses, the federal government is a key, initial investor to help them get great ideas into the marketplace,” said National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Director Sonny Ramaswamy. “The feasibility and scalability of these business concepts are evaluated through our peer review process, and businesses get to keep their intellectual property rights as they commercialize their ventures.”
The most recent 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 Center in Salinas, Calif.
“The Western Growers Innovation Center strives to foster innovation to address the most important grower issues like crop protection, labor supply, and water use,” said Dennis Donohue, consulting director of Western Growers Center for Innovation and Technology at Western Growers Innovation Center. “We’re excited to have Hazel Technologies join our residents and continue to provide our industry with innovative solutions to help address these issues.”