April 22, 2021
In the U.S., households throw out around 30 million tons of food each year—nearly twice as much as the produce wasted on farms. In some other parts of the world, the situation flips: Because of a lack of infrastructure and unreliable electricity, food often can’t be refrigerated, and it rots before it can be sold to consumers.
But new technology could help eliminate the need for cold storage. Farther Farms, a startup based in upstate New York, developed a new type of pasteurization that makes food last longer, so perishable food can sit on a shelf instead of in a fridge. As a proof of concept, the company made packaged french fries—food that would normally be sold frozen—that can sit at room temperature for 90 days before it’s eaten. Even better: The process doesn’t use artificial preservatives.
Cofounder Vipul Saran developed the tech as a grad student at Cornell University. Saran grew up in a farming family in India and saw how challenging it was to deliver produce (in their case, potatoes) in the supply chain.