The Dutch Food Tech company, OneThird, has raised funding of 1.5 million euro from investors SHIFT Invest and Oost NL. The equity raised will be used to accelerate the development of OneThird’s fresh produce quality prediction platform and expand pilots with retail customers. The company has also expanded its technical team through the acquisition of AI specialist firm, Impact Analytics, adding additional expertise in (spectral) imaging and analysis. OneThird will run their operations from Kennispark Twente.
Reducing food waste
The United Nations identify food waste as one of the major sustainability challenges and address it with the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3. One-third of food is currently wasted, and the urgent call for action is to halve this by 2030. Major retailers and their supply chain partners have teamed up in the coalition called Champions 12.3 dedicated to inspire ambition and action to achieve this goal.
The logistics behind getting fresh produce from the grower to the retailer is complex, especially as quality varies between seasons and environmental conditions like the weather. With OneThird’s technology, quality inspectors can ‘look inside’ fresh produce in a non-destructive manner using Near-Infrared sensors, and inspect many products in a matter of seconds. Combining this data with smartphone images of these products and other relevant environmental data, artificial intelligence algorithms accurately determine both internal and external quality and provide key information such as remaining shelf life and taste.
“Our unique prediction technology allows quality inspectors throughout the food supply chain to get immediate feedback about shelf life and other quality parameters of fresh produce and take better decisions.” explains Marco Snikkers, founder of OneThird. Lack of accurate fresh produce shelf life information is resulting in unnecessary surprises in the supply chain and negative experiences for consumers. Marco Snikkers continues: “Our system can enable dynamic routing and pricing and helps to prevent food waste, optimize fresh produce logistics and improve the quality of fresh produce for consumers.”
OneThird started as a digital innovation project of Ocean Insight, a Halma company. Halma, the FTSE 100 global group of life-saving technology companies, funded the pre-seed stage of OneThird as it validated its technology with key customers. It was spun out in 2020 providing access to new partners to further accelerate its growth.
“We are excited to support OneThird’s team and are convinced they are well positioned to have a large positive impact on the food value chain. OneThird focusses on providing actionable information, using parameters which really matter to their customers,” says Koen Hooning, Investment Manager at SHIFT Invest. “As an Impact-driven venture capital fund we can clearly see how OneThird can help their customers in meeting food waste reduction targets.”
Chimwemwe de Gaay Fortman of Oost NL comments: “OneThird’s solution to prevent food waste fits well to our goals in the East Netherlands: to invest in companies that use technologies to enable major breakthroughs in global challenges. We have a great high-tech ecosystem around the University of Twente. Wageningen University & Research is one of the largest institutes focusing on agriculture and food. OneThird is already actively working together with these institutes, so we are very happy to see they decided to setup their facility in Enschede”.