MONTEREY, Calif. - Reducing food waste is a key focus for Treasure8 LLC a San Francisco based startup that uses patented technology to dehydrate fruits and vegetables.
“We’re focused on systematically transforming food waste, and a very massive scale, focusing (first) on in-field waste, post-production, and eventually retail as well,” Timothy Childs, founder and CEO of the company, said in his presentation.
Childs was one of four speakers at a July 26 hour-long workshop called “Top Technology of Tomorrow” at the Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference Expo.
According to the company’s website, the company main food drying system is a new form of dehydration that is energy and time-efficient, naturally preserves micronutrients, flavors, and color of fruits, vegetables, tubers, and fungi, and shrinks them into nutrient-dense food stuffs within one hour.
Childs said the company is positioned to help provide more whole foods to consumers at exactly the right time.
He said there is a huge shift in investments among pension funds and other major sources of capital from projects seeking to cure diseases to companies and initiatives working to prevent diseases. It is widely recognized that diet plays a huge role in helping to prevent disease, he said, and fruits and vegetables in all forms will play a prominent role.
“There is going to be a wave of capital resources going from (curing diseases) and towards prevention,” he said. “Combine this with this concept that’s emerging in the financial circles and the health care circles that food is medicine, and it’s going to be a big deal.”
That plays into Treasure8 strengths to capture foods before they go to waste and preserve their value through dehydration. The company is seeking investors in its second round of funding, according to the company website.
Childs said Treasure8’s dehydration process allows better nutrient capture and also permits better results for freeze-dried fruits and vegetables.
The company’s first scaled machine was built with a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) along with the USDA and the University of California, Davis.
The firm said the patented USDA core technology application range is wide and Treasure8 holds the exclusive patent licensing rights to manufacture SAUNA machines and products from them.
The system preserves more micronutrients than other forms of dehydration and can use imperfect produce from fields and food waste from post-production sources, according to the company’s website. The dehydration process uses up to 72% less energy compared to frying and is up to 82.5% more efficient than freeze-drying, the company claims. The process also is water-efficient, doesn’t give off nitrogen oxide gases and is acrylamide free.
The company said its process can help reduce food freezing costs and increase quality by partial dehydration before freezing, for better color and quality.
Treasure8 has partnered with a global food equipment manufacturer to produce its dehydration machines at scale.
Childs said the startup company will offer a service mode where it can help fresh produce shippers install and maintain Treasure8 dehydration machines at their own facilities.