Supply chain innovation, ChillSafe tackles food waste challenge
After 10 years of working with commercial businesses, Coolsan Australia will roll out its innovative ChillSafe technology to domestic consumers in July 2022. The patented, simple-to-use sachet is designed to reduce bacteria, mould and viruses in cool storages and keep food fresher for longer, resulting in less food wastage.
Thomas deMasi is on a mission. The catch cry for his company, Coolsan Australia is ‘Better hygiene, less spoilage’ but the end goal is broader than that, and global.
Thomas is passionate about achieving less food wastage and greater efficiency of the inputs used to grow food, such as water and fertiliser, through innovative improvements in the supply chain.
Their solution? ChillSafe, a patented, simple-to-use sachet slightly bigger than an iPhone, that’s been proven to protect against bacteria, mould, yeast and viruses and reduce odours in cool stores everywhere from pubs, clubs and bakeries to supermarkets, McDonalds’ outlets, fruit packing sheds and thousands of refrigerated shipping containers.
ChillSafe’s soft launch for homes in July
And after proving its worth in the commercial supply chain over the past 10 years, Coolsan will launch the ChillSafe sachet into Australian homes in July, allowing shoppers to benefit from the product in their home fridges. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, the ChillSafe sachet will provide eight weeks of coverage.
- If you’d like to purchase the ChillSafe product for your home fridge, you can register your interest here or email inquiries to [email protected].
“If all of us can prevent just one orange, apple or strawberry a day from being wasted and going into landfill it will have a huge impact on reducing water, fertiliser, fossil fuels, human capital and all the other inputs required to bring fresh food from the paddock to the plate,” explained Coolsan CEO and Co-founder, Thomas deMasi.
“To produce a single orange requires 50 litres of water, so ensuring the safe storage of food and reducing spoilage will have a real and measurable impact on the planet.”
Fellow Coolsan Co-founder and chemist, Dr Gary Erickson, developed the ChillSafe technology in 2015 in response to a request from his wife, Merrill, when the two were operating an Airbnb in Coonabarabran in rural New South Wales.
The challenge: to ‘stop coriander from going slimy’
“Coonabarabran is 500km from Sydney so it’s towards the end of the supply chain, and Merrill was frustrated by the fact that fruit and vegetables and herbs only stayed fresh for a few days. So, she initially asked Gary to find a way to stop her coriander from going slimy,” Thomas recalled.
Gary had been a chemist with a background in developing hospital sanitation technology using the broad-spectrum antimicrobial Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour (HPV). He surmised that very low levels of HPV would reduce the microbes that spoil food, and developed ChillSafe, which generates an ultra-low dose vapour 24/7 to treat the air and surfaces of storage spaces with a capacity of up to 50m3.
The technology has been certified by HACCP and Organic Australia as an air treatment product and users globally have adopted the supply chain solution treating over 1.5 million m3 of cold chain space in the last 12 months.
“Gary and I met at an international food expo and having had experience in a family fruit and vegetable business, I could see the value of ChillSafe across the entire supply chain,” said Thomas.
“When it’s used in conjunction with existing shelf-life extension technologies and cleaning and hygiene routines it reduces microbial loads, and that produces real differences you can see, smell, feel and measure – as well as keeping food fresh, it improves the operation of refrigeration machinery, reduces odour and improves air quality, and it’s all done with a very low dose.”
Working through regulatory ‘barriers’ for global expansion
Successes aside, Thomas is the first to admit that it’s been a rollercoaster ride to protect, patent and trial the ChillSafe technology and grow the customer base globally. Particularly given the rigid regulatory environments that can become trade barriers in some countries. And in 2019 just as it was starting to gain traction and win awards, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened, and many of the facilities using the product were forced to close.
“When Covid hit, we lost 79% of our business in about seven weeks. It was a massive hit but oddly enough due to the extra focus on hygiene in the pandemic, we had a couple of businesses call to ask if we could supply them with sachets as they were upping their hygiene, so we’ve managed to sustain the business and even grow,” he said.
“Our product is new and innovative, so many global regulators like the European Union and the United States often don’t have anything to compare it with, so the entry to market can be long and painstaking,” said Thomas.
For now, the Coolsan team is focused on expanding its market reach where there is a clear path with regulatory approvals, while simultaneously exploring the requirements for successful entry into the US and European markets.
ChillSafe extends life of fruit in Riverland storage
Venus Citrus, a family-owned citrus packing shed servicing domestic and overseas markets from Riverland, South Australia, has gained impressive results using ChillSafe technology. Grower liaison officer, Fabio Spiniello, said they use it in all of their eight cool rooms.
“We have pretty extensive storage so that we can prolong the selling period for certain varieties to obtain better returns for the grower. Last season, ChillSafe saved us 5% on fruit storage and reduced waste from about 8% to 3%,” said Fabio.
“On 1,000 bins, that’s the equivalent of saving around 20-25 tonnes of fruit. Any business that stores fruit and veggies for at least 7-10 days will see a difference using ChillSafe, and if the integrity of fresh produce can be extended from a week to one month, it’s fantastic!”
‘Low and slow’ action produces results
For Thomas the mission continues to provide proof of ChillSafe’s integrity to overseas regulators, and offer everyday families the chance to benefit from Coolsan’s innovative Australian technology.
“The domestic retail product will be available online and each sachet will last for eight weeks in a domestic fridge. Our staff, family and friends have used ChillSafe regularly for years. So when our distributors tried it in their own home fridges and also loved it we decided to make it available to families in Australia to help them manage the spiralling cost of fresh food and join the fight against food waste,” he said.
“This is agtech that you can use at home or anywhere along the paddock to plate supply chain, and know that you are doing your bit to reduce wastage and avoid the impacts of climate change.”
- If you’d like to purchase the ChillSafe product for your home, you can register your interest here or email queries to [email protected].
Want to learn more about Coolsan’s technology and global expansion goals, make an inquiry about partnering or offer supply chain and regulatory expertise for international markets? Visit growAG.com here.
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