Hazel Technologies' New Grant Aims to Address Better Produce Preservation
- by Jordan Okumura
CHICAGO, IL – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) wants to help keep your fresh produce on shelves longer with the help of Hazel Technologies’ developing revolutionary resolution. A $600,000 development grant from the USDA through SBIR will enable the organization to continue to explore the fresh produce export marketplace to enhance technology so that the world—and your business—have less food waste.
“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, in a recent press release. “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 SBIR program is extremely competitive and is an effort to support small businesses wanting to use innovative solutions to protect the environment. Not only is it hard to make it into the program, but getting to the second-phase can be just as difficult. Recipients into the second-phase are eligible only if they have been awarded the first-phase and show signs while within that first-stage of being credible amongst the industry. Hazel Technologies’ proved credibility within the industry by investing in trustworthy relationships with companies such as DFI Marketing, establishing them as a promising solution.
This is not Hazel’s first rodeo in the award ring. In 2016, the company received $100,000 grant money from the USDA to develop its Hazel℠ suite of technologies, a line of easy-to-apply packaging inserts designed to protect post-harvest fresh produce quality. Fresh produce such as tomato, melons, tree fruit, kiwifruit, and avocado have all benefited from these developments from the USDA endorsed company.
“For small agricultural businesses, the federal government is a key, initial investor to help them get great ideas into the marketplace,” said NIFA 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.”
Funds from the most recent dole are being used to generate more data with current trial partners, conduct academic studies on performance, and expand operations in a new office space in the Western Growers Association Innovation Center in Salinas, California. By teaming up with The Western Growers Innovation Center, Hazel Technologies aims to create new technology for crop quality and resolve issues identified by the industry.
“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.”
As the funds pour into Hazel Technologies’ research, their findings will preserve their prominence in the industry’s developments.
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