The Ness Ziona, Israel-based firm’s AclaroMeter will change the way farmers make their decisions and will “revolutionize” the global food market by helping prevent wasted products and making them accessible to wider populations, the company says on its website.
Today, farmers decide when to pick fruit based on instinct or lab tests. “These methods are extremely inefficient and not standardized, leading to a yearly loss of approximately 50% of worldwide grown fruit” and vegetables, the company said, with some wasted even before it gets to consumers’ homes.
With the Aclaro meter, users scan the fruit with their built-in smartphone camera and with a standard portable molecular sensor, the SCIO.
This captures a large set of measurements about the fruit and its environment, revealing data like the fruit’s sugar content, acidity, firmness, weight and color, as well as its GPS location and weather conditions at the time of sampling. The data is then uploaded to the cloud and is processed by a tailormade algorithm that compares the data to tens of thousands of other samples of previously inspected fruit.
The algorithm then grades the scanned fruit for freshness, ripeness and quality within a few seconds, the company said. This data can help farmers decide when to pick their produce and monitor its freshness as it moves along the food chain via packaging houses to retailers and end users.
AclarTech has just completed a pilot project with a local grape producer and is set to start a beta test with agricultural entities in Israel, including the Agriculture Ministry, the Plant Council, the agricultural research organization Volcani Center and wineries.
The revenue model is to charge customers based on usage, or some $1-$5 per sample depending on the kind of fruit, the company said.
“Our vision is to improve the efficiency and quality of fresh agricultural produce along the food chain, from the farmer in the field to the table of the consumer,” said CEO Avi Schwartzer in the statement.
Competing technologies have apps using the SCIO spectrometers, the company said, but none has the data repository that creates standardized measurements, nor do they take visual information into account.
The startup was founded in December 2012 and is at seed stage, according to data compiled by Startup Nation Central.
AclarTech is part of the portfolio companies of TechForGood, an organization operating in Israel and South East Asia that aims to help startups to use technology to solve social and environmental challenges.
(This article was updated after the company said neither Tesco nor other companies showed interest in the product, correcting what was stated in the press release; the information provided previously did not reflect “the real status of the conversations with potential customers,” the company said in a text message.)