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Eighth trend: waste reduction

Innovation / -

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Technology can produce effective weapons to counteract the scandal of food waste. The possibility of communicating in real time (frequently through a smartphone) the availability of excess food or near-expiry date food has made it much simpler to reinforce recovery methods. More and more applications and online platforms are being launched – by creative innovators from Italy and many other countries – which benefit retailers and consumers by signaling the availability of products near the end of their shelf life.

Orange Fiber. In Sicily, oranges are fashionable

Innovation / -

Orange Fiber startup intervista

They use byproducts from the Italian citrus fruit industry to create sustainable fabrics, which are changing the face of fashion. Adriana and Enrica aim to contribute to the creation of a sustainable market. And their ability has garnered multiple recognitions.

From their victory in the Trentino Sviluppo and the Smart&Start competitions, and on to Expo Milano 2015, Adriana Santanocito, specialist in Fashion & Textile design, and Enrica Arena, expert in communications and international cooperation, have come a long way on their path to innovating the world of fashion. They have worked to combine aesthetic panache with care for environmental sustainability. And meanwhile, Sicily has become their working base for recovering waste from the citrus processing industry.
What are the innovative elements in your technology?
The idea of Orange Fiber was generated by the desire to innovate the Italian textile tradition and to do something of positive value for our territory: the answer was to use byproducts from the citrus processing industry – where waste products represent a problem for the supply chain – in order to create sustainable and ‘vitaminic’ fabrics to use in fashion. The result is the first fabric made from waste byproducts from citrus processes, an innovation in product and process, in that we recover an exhausted material, not viable for food or drink consumption, and we transform it – using sustainable semi-industrial processes – into a new material for clothing manufacturing.
How did you develop your start-up?
We carried out a feasibility study through the Milan Polytechnic, and from there developed our patent. Then we took part in Changemakers for Expo and won, and also gained a special mention from Tim #WCAP. This made it possible for us to return to our home and set up active collaborative arrangements with various Sicilian companies specialized in citrus processing. Thanks to various collaboration with our company and the incubation offered by Trentino Sviluppo, we got to the prototype phase, presented in preview last September in Milan in Expo Gate. Orange Fiber srl was officially launched on February 5th 2014. Currently we have our legal office in Catania, our home town, and our operative base in Rovereto, in the “Progetto Manifattura” structure of Trentino Sviluppo.
What official recognitions have you obtained?
A few months after launching our project, everything suddenly took off: from Working Capital to Alimenta2Talent, plus the Gaetano Marzotto Prize and the New York Stock Exchange Prize. We also won an award at Changemakers for Expo, from the Milan incubator Make a Cube, and from the Parco Tecnologico Padano, plus financing from Trentino Sviluppo. We’ve ridden a continuous growth curve, culminating in our victory in the United Nations Ideas4Change project last April.
Who are your competitors? What are your strong points from a competitive perspective?
The market for sustainable fabrics is currently in rapid expansion. Many companies are producing sustainable yarns, but we have the advantage of producing a fabric very similar to silk, and therefore strongly competitive in terms of usage options. The cosmetic properties of our fabrics – achieved thanks to the use of cutting-edge nanotechnologies – bring a further added value to our products. We believe that the combination of innovation and sustainability is the winning formula in the new fashion materials market, and that our fabrics fully satisfy the need for green renewal in the fashion industry.

Food Huggers. An anti-waste solution for fruit and vegetables

Innovation / -

Food Huggers

Founded by a marketing specialist and an industrial designer, Food Huggers preserve fruit and vegetables in a new way, creating a reusable protective cover in silicone. And the environment is grateful.

What if we could keep things fresh with a hug? Adrienne McNicholas, co-founder and expert in marketing, tells us how the Food Huggers project came about. Thanks to funds gathered through Kickstarter, its two creators reached a budget target of 184,000 dollars and have involved a wide range of supporters in their product.
Can you briefly tell us about your activity? How did the idea of Food Huggers come about?
Food Huggers are reusable silicone covers that help conserve fruit and vegetables, keeping them fresh for longer and offering people more time to enjoy them. In order to keep these natural foodstuffs fresh we worked on possible solutions for preserving the area where nature’s protective skin has been removed in order to use part of the product. From there we developed ideas for substituting the missing protection. If you use Food Huggers you can preserve partly-used items of fruit or vegetables for longer and avoid using wrapping materials which create garbage.
What is your target market? Which countries are you targeting?
Our reference market consists of single consumers and our products will be available in shops all over Europe in 2015. We send Food Huggers all over the world from our website and we have both distributers and retailers in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia.
Apart from crowdfunding through Kickstarter, who else gave financial support to your project?
Before turning to Kickstarter we invested some of our own funds. And afterwards we self-financed ourselves to protect the idea and continue to sustain the project. We both believe profoundly in this product.
What are your medium-term economic goals?
We hope to be able to launch a new Kickstarter campaign in 2015, to expand our product range and be able to offer a complete range of instruments to help our customers reduce food waste.
Who are your competitors?
Our main competitor is people’s habit of wrapping leftover fruit and vegetables in single sheets of plastic or aluminium.

Over a million people are already #FoodConscious. What about you?

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