Soleva is using breathable bags and solar energy to help people make use of the agricultural resources they already have but normally spoil.
Founding Year: 2016
Location: Lund, Sweden
Soleva have been part of the Climate-KIC Alumni since Autumn 2016.
Soleva addresses the fact that there is enough food grown in the world to feed the entire population, while millions of people go hungry. Globally, it is estimated that about 33% of food produced never makes it to our kitchens, which is almost 1.3 billion tonnes per year!1 To help visualise just how much food this is, try to picture the entire human population of the Earth sitting on one giant scale. The amount of food wasted is more than three times the value that the scale would show!2 That is an incredible amount of food! And just in one year…
Food that is lost along the production chain is a huge waste of resources (land, water, energy and fertiliser) and carbon dioxide emissions. One example is fruit – and not just in tropical countries, but in Europe too! Many fruits around the world have a peak season and ripen all at once, which results in a lot of spoilage if there is no way to preserve them. This could be in sunny Mozambique with tangerines and mangos, or in Sweden with apples and pears.
This is where Soleva’s solution comes in: to use “breathable” bags and solar energy to concentrate and preserve fruits that would otherwise spoil, close to where they are grown. The bags are filled with juice/purée and then sealed and put in the sun to dry. If the relative humidity in the outside air is less than 100%, water will leave the bag as vapour. Within a few days, enough water is removed that the natural fruit sugars create a self-preservative effect and the concentrate can be stored for up to a year at room temperature.
The bags are hygienic as they keep out pests and microorganisms. The concentrate can be turned back into juice by adding water, used as a marmalade or eaten as a dried fruit snack. Our technique is especially suitable for remote and rural areas where it is not possible to have large factories that require large investments, electricity and fossil fuels.
1 FAO. 2011. Global food losses and food waste – Extent, causes and prevention. Rome. http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e.pdf
2 Moore, Hannah. 2014. Are all the ants as heavy as all the humans? BBC Magazine. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29281253
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Team Members: The team's expertise lies in the areas of food engineering and membrane technologies. The company is a spin-off from a research project that started at the Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition at Lund University.