Mori, which focuses on preventing food waste, has raised a $12 million Series A led by Acre Venture Partners, with participation from investors including Prelude Ventures, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and ACCELR8 as well as returning investors The Engine, Refactor Capital, Closed Loop Partners, Blindspot Ventures, and The Fink Family Foundation. The Boston-based company is the developer of an edible protective layer designed to keep food fresh.
Mori, formerly known as Cambridge Crops, is a startup that arose from Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto’s silk lab at Tufts University after one of his postdoctoral researchers, Benedetto Marelli, discovered that silk could preserve strawberries without changing the taste. The company aims to iterate and expand on the initial discovery, using silk as its core ingredient to develop products that extend the shelf life of all sorts of perishable foods.
“We’ve been impressed by the progress of the Mori team, and the flexibility of the technology sets them up as a very attractive solution for both food and agriculture companies. Food waste is an extraordinary challenge, both economic and environmental. Mori provides natural, well understood and cost effective solutions across various stages of the supply chain to combat waste.”Lucas Mann, Managing Partner at Acre
Mori utilizes a proprietary and efficient process using only water and salt to isolate and reform the silk’s natural protein. The startup’s core technology renders silk invisible, but retains its key molecular properties. The technology is currently protected by 20 patents, 25 patent applications, and numerous trade secrets worldwide. Being a solution, the proprietary coating can be applied quickly and easily to any shape, size, or texture by dunking or spraying.
Once deposited on the surface of food, the silk coating forms a tasteless, odorless, and otherwise imperceptible barrier that slows down the food’s natural degradation mechanisms. The natural protective layer works on whole and cut produce, seafood, poultry, and meat. Depending on the food item, the result can show up to a 200 percent increase in shelf life.
Not only the technology enable less food waste, but also reduces the pressure on cold chains, allowing shippers to reduce greenhouse gases in transportation. The coating’s offers three fold benefits.
- NATURAL: Protective layer is made from natural ingredients and helps companies reduce the need for the single-use plastic, wax, fungicides, or chemicals normally used.
- SUSTAINABLE: Made from sustainable ingredients, the protective layer helps reduce food waste and helps increase the accessibility of healthier foods.
- EDIBLE: Tasteless, odorless, and invisible, the protective layer helps food taste better for longer. You’ll never even know it’s there.
Mori has obtained Self-Designated GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status, set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for its silk proteins to be used in a wide range of food applications. Mori intends on using the funding to build out its manufacturing capabilities and continue to develop commercial partnerships in multiple food categories.