Food tech business secures £750k to fund technology’s widespread roll-out

Marc Braterman

A Wythenshawe company whose flagship technology increases the shelf-life of food produce and reduces waste has secured £750,000 from investors.

The funding fillip will support the technology’s roll-out across the UK and internationally.

Xtend is an antimicrobial packaging coating which enables a range of food types, including fruit and vegetables, to stay fresh in their packaging for longer.

It will also enable OSY Group to expand its team, which is based at the Manchester International Office Centre near Manchester Airport.

Chief executive, Marc Braterman, said: “Currently 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted or lost each year globally, and between eight and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions result directly from food waste.

“We aspire to lead the charge in global food waste reduction through our innovative technology, as well as helping to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and food poverty, supporting grocers as they strive to achieve their sustainability targets, and enabling food producers to tap into more export markets.”

He added: “This latest funding round is a major milestone as it will enable us to accelerate the commercialisation of Xtend in the UK and internationally, while also focusing on growing our team. We are looking to create a number of roles in the coming months in line with our strategy.”

Xtend is a water-based antimicrobial coating for packaging surfaces. It leaves microscopic pins on the packaging surfaces that puncture and kill microbes and slow the natural spoiling process that affects the fresh produce within.

It has undergone extensive testing at independent laboratories, universities and other facilities, which has proven the technology to be food-safe and compliant with the Food Contact Materials regulations for fresh produce, said Marc.

Testing has shown that Xtend extends shelf-life by multiple days on various forms of packaging, he added.

It is suitable for lidding film, plastic trays, flow wrap, fibre and board, flexible film paper, outer packaging and board and film combined for food-to-go, such as sandwiches.

Trials of Xtend have also been conducted with a major UK grocer as well as leading soft fruit producers and large European packaging companies.

Marc said: “These trials, in addition to the extensive testing carried out at facilities in the UK, have demonstrated that Xtend maintains freshness for longer and, therefore, significantly contributes to reducing food waste.

“It can be easily integrated into existing packaging production, and has a range of other applications beyond food produce due to its direct coating qualities.”

The latest investment, from three new individuals and one existing backer, follows a £250,000 equity fundraising last year and an award from Innovate UK through its ‘Better Food for All’ competition to support companies forging innovative ways to tackle nutrition challenges.

Innovate UK’s funding is supporting OSY’s ongoing research and development.

OSY is one of only a small number of companies selected to be part of a global innovation business programme run by Innovate UK in Canada and Australia.

Among the advisers to OSY are Dr Malcolm Driffield and Dr Rhodri Evans, of scientific, engineering and regulatory consultancy Exponent International.