Dutch startup OneThird raises €1.5M to help reduce food waste globally; here’s how


According to the United Nations, food waste is one of the major sustainability challenges as one-third of food is currently being wasted. And to address this concern, the UN set up an agenda to halve the wastage by 2030 with a vision that food and agriculture are key to sustainable development. Major retailers and their supply chain partners have teamed up in the coalition called Champions 12.3 dedicated to inspire ambition and action to achieve this goal.

In this regard, OneThird is one such food-tech startup that helps to prevent food waste through data-driven quality prediction of fresh produce.

OneThird raises funding

In a recent development, Enschede, the Netherlands-based company has announced that it raised €1.5M in a fresh round of funding from SHIFT Invest and Oost NL.

Chimwemwe de Gaay Fortman of Oost NL, says, “OneThird’s solution to prevent food waste fits well to our goals in the East Netherlands: to invest in companies that use technologies to enable major breakthroughs in global challenges. We have a great high-tech ecosystem around the University of Twente. Wageningen University & Research is one of the largest institutes focusing on agriculture and food. OneThird is already actively working together with these institutes, so we are very happy to see they decided to set up their facility in Enschede.”

Use of the capital

The proceeds from this round will be used to accelerate the development of OneThird’s “fresh produce quality prediction platform” and expand pilots with retail customers.

In addition, the company will also expand its technical team through the acquisition of AI specialist firm Impact Analytics, adding additional expertise in (spectral) imaging and analysis.

OneThird will run their operations from Kennispark Twente, a business park. The Kennispark Twente ecosystem comprises more than 400 companies and institutions, employing over 5000 innovation workers and entrepreneurs.

Reducing food waste

“We were all shocked to find that one third of all food produced in the world is wasted. It’s since been our mission to fix this. We even named ourselves after this fact,” the company mentions on its website.

Formed in 2019 in a digital incubation hub for Halma, OneThird spun-out in 2020, providing access to new partners to further accelerate its growth. The company has developed technology and algorithms to help reduce waste in the food supply chain.

Its solutions for growers, distributors, and retailers allow for high-accuracy shelf-life prediction of produce at any stage of the supply chain. This ensures the right product gets to the right place at the right time.

With expertise in spectroscopy, data analysis, and biology, OneThird aims to improve sustainability, feed those in need, and save customers money.

Video credit: OneThird

The technology!

According to OneThird, getting fresh produce from the grower to the retailer is complex. This is because the quality varies according to the season and environmental conditions like the weather. However, the company has created a technology through which quality inspectors can ‘look inside’ fresh produce using Near-Infrared sensors and inspect many products in a matter of seconds.

Combining this data with smartphone images of these products and other relevant environmental data, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms accurately determine both internal and external quality as well as provide key information such as the remaining shelf life and taste of the product.

Marco Snikkers, Founder of OneThird, explains, “Our unique prediction technology allows quality inspectors throughout the food supply chain to get immediate feedback about shelf life and other quality parameters of fresh produce and take better decisions. Lack of accurate, fresh produce shelf life information is resulting in unnecessary surprises in the supply chain and negative experiences for consumers. 

Snikkers added, “Our system can enable dynamic routing and pricing and helps to prevent food waste, optimise fresh produce logistics, and improve the quality of fresh produce for consumers.”

About SHIFT Invest

SHIFT Invest is a Dutch venture capital fund that invests in innovations in food & agriculture, clean (bio-based) technologies, circularity, and smart materials. The firm aims to create an environmental impact alongside a financial return. SHIFT is managed by New Balance Impact Investors (NBI), an experienced team of investment professionals and entrepreneurs. NBI manages five venture capital funds, backed by partners that share their mission of turning investments into impact.

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