WayCool Foods join hands with IIT-Hyderabad to develop packaging solution to reduce food wastage

WayCool will invest around Rs 20 lakh over 3 years in this association

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WayCool
Image: Kristaps Ungurs on Unsplash

WayCool Foods has signed a 3-year MoU with IIT Hyderabad (IIT-H) to develop antimicrobial food packaging material by using biopolymers. The MoU was signed and exchanged between Karthik Jayaraman, chief executive officer, WayCool Foods, and SumohanaChannappayya, Dean (R&D), IIT-H in Hyderabad.

The aim is to develop economically viable and biodegradable packaging that will retain the freshness of fruits and vegetables longer, leading to a reduction in food wastage across the supply chain by up to 20%. This packing material will enhance the shelf life of mainstream fruits and vegetables such as okra, capsicum, Indian gooseberry, and guava, as well as exotic produce such as strawberry and broccoli. WayCool will invest close to Rs 20 lakh over a period of 3 years of this association.

On the occasion of the MoU signing, Vignesh Kumar Manogaran, executive vice president, WayCool Foods, said, “From inception, WayCool Foods has been actively working towards reducing food wastage on multiple fronts. The association with IIT Hyderabad to co-develop a sustainable alternate packaging solution further supplements our in-house R&D and innovation efforts. The collaboration will help us work closely with the bright minds of India’s premier institutions and strengthen industry-academia linkage.”

WayCool distributes its wide range of fresh produce and staples in brands such as Shuddha, Dhaanyaa, KitchenJi, L’exotique, Madhuram, and Freshey’s, to nearly 20,000 retail outlets, as well as institutional clients. The innovative packaging, when developed, is intended to be starkly different from conventional packaging and will help consumers enjoy fresh produce longer.

In the drive towards creating a social impact, WayCool has a farmer engagement program, Outgrow, that engages with farmers through the entire cultivation cycle, from planning to inputs to harvesting. In the process, WayCool helps to substantially increase farmer profitability, reduce risk, and guarantees 270 days of steady income to farmers by leveraging a host of emerging technologies to measure soil health, ensure quality of inputs, capture agricultural practices, and measure output quality.

During the MoU signing, Dr.Mudrika Khandelwal, The Cellulose Group (Head), IIT Hyderabad, said, Biopolymer is an environment friendly food packaging material. We are happy to collaborate with WayCool Foods to develop this unique solution to enhance product shelf-life while also reducing the overall carbon footprint related to food packaging. It is important to devise ways to create uncompromised innovations that meet our sustainability goals while providing customer-focused solutions.”

WayCool Foods, founded in July 2015 by Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari, is said to be India’s largest agri supply chain startup. Focusing on food development and distribution, the Company leverages innovative technology to scale and operate a complex supply chain. WayCool operates a full-stack, broadline product range across multiple channels and categories such as fresh produce, staples, and dairy, serving over 18,000 clients in the general trade, modern trade, and food services space.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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