One startup is eliminating middle-mile food emissions with its local micro-factories
Spotted: Shipping and transportation accounts for a significant proportion of food and beverage-related emissions – accounting for 20 per cent of the global food system’s carbon footprint – as well as being a costly enterprise. And the inefficiency in these supply chains means that almost half of all food produced goes to waste instead of being eaten. This is where Canadian startup Relocalize hopes to make a difference.
Specifically, Relocalize wants to target ‘middle-mile’ emissions, which are generated as produce is transported from one warehouse or distribution centre to another. To do this, the company offers automated 1200-square-foot micro-factories that are positioned at retailer distribution and fulfilment centres, eliminating the need for products to be hauled long distances. This allows packaging to be kept to a minimum, and transport emissions to be slashed. The locality of supply chains also introduces a level of robustness that cannot be matched by long-haul, complicated, and expensive systems.
Today, the micro-factories are being used to make ice, and will soon produce beverages. However, in the future, they could be used to make products for every aisle of the store.
Earlier this year, Relocalize announced a partnership with Southeastern Grocers, which saw the addition of a RELO micro-factory at Southeastern’s distribution centre in Jacksonville. This pilot scheme is producing plastic-negative packed ice, Better Ice, for supermarkets in Florida.
Relocalize recently raised $3.5 million (around €3.3 million) in seed funding to help fund growth of the company and though it’s started by targeting the ice market, the plan is to expand into beverages and other foodstuffs.
Keeping production local is a great way to cut unnecessary transport emissions. Springwise has also spotted nano-factories for local food production and a modular system to bring drinking water to where it’s needed.
Written By: Archie Cox