The Future of Fresh Produce with ClariFruit President Elad Mardix
With the rise of reusable straws, impossible burgers, and farm-to-table living, it’s no surprise that society is growing more and more conscious about how what they eat affects the world. One of the biggest issues humanity must tackle in order to achieve more ethical food consumption is the elimination of food waste. Each year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost or wasted—about one-third of all the food produced in the world. While that may seem like a daunting problem, ClariFruit, an Israeli startup focused on streamlining the quality-control process for fresh produce, is looking to be a part of the solution.
According to ClariFruit President Elad Mardix, the fresh produce industry—which accounts for two trillion dollars worldwide—saw a 45% shrink last year alone. The “shrink” here refers to products that are grown but don’t make it to the shelf, meaning that for every one hundred pieces of produce grown, only fifty-five made it to shelves last year. “The key reason for this happening,” Mardix explains, “is because first, their quality control process is very subjective, and second, there is very little data flowing within the supply chain in order to make decisions.”
ClariFruit is the first provider of automatic quality control, all on one simple platform that helps provide data analytic solutions for the fresh produce industry. “Every one percent of shrink represents nine billion dollars,” Mardix says. “That’s why we’re here.”
Their company provides software that can analyze produce quality itself via a mobile app. It takes in the fruit’s external characteristics such as color and size, a well as internal characteristics like sugar and firmness. Based on this assessment, ClariFruit’s technology is then able to rate the produce for the customer. The end result is a streamlined, easy-to-use process that leads to less food waste and more profit for customers. According to Mardix, it takes “between 30 and 50 minutes to do a [manual] inspection for one aspect of fruit,” a process that ClariFruit has gotten down to five minutes.
Efficiency isn’t the only thing ClariFruit offers its customers. Part of ClariFruit’s power also lies in its ability to collect large amounts of data on the produce it analyzes, helping both growers and distributors make better decisions across the supply chain.“For example, if you’re a grower, we’ll be able to tell you when you should pick the fruit — should you pick it now when you go to the field and inspect the fruit, or should you wait for ten days?” Mardix explains. ClariFruit’s tech is also useful for post-harvest decisions, like identifying your highest quality produce for sale to high-end retailers. “Our vision is really to develop a global quality standard for each one of the fruits and vegetables in the world,” Mardix says. “This will help to reduce shrink in the supply chain, and really help the online grocery platforms by introducing quality standards to all customers.” With companies like ClariFruit leading the charge, we can all look forward to an age where we have access to higher quality produce at prices beneficial to growers, all while reducing waste.