Atmopure is doing its bit to tackle New Zealand’s food waste issue. Aimee Shaw finds out what the company is doing about it.

What does your business do?

Atmopure is a business whose mission is to tackle the issue of food waste and food loss at a consumer and supply chain level through processes and products that extend the life of fresh produce.

Our products help remove ethylene from the local air body around fresh produce, thereby delaying the ripening process. We started this operation in 2017, though I have been involved in ethylene control in various ways for almost five years now.

What was the motivation for starting it?

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I was involved in ethylene control products for a number of years before deciding to launch Atmopure. I saw so much untapped potential in the idea so I started Atmopure with a vision to grow the use of ethylene control products throughout the supply chain to significantly reduce food loss and wastage.

How big is your team?

It's me, a part-time machine operator and a part-time marketing assistant. We've got big ambitions so we are in the process of hiring a salesperson for our commercial lease operations.

How is Atmopure tackling the problem of food waste?

By producing ethylene control products for both commercial and consumer use that increase the shelf life of fresh produce, thereby reducing food wastage both in retail and in Kiwi homes.

What products do you have?

Atmopure's brands are Freshkeeper, ethylene absorbing sachets designed to be used in fruit bowls or fridge crisper drawers to extend the shelf life of fresh produce in consumer homes. For commercial use we have Ethyguard, a range of ethylene control products and services that enable businesses to maximise the shelf life of fresh produce.

How is Atmopure tackling the issue of food waste?

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By producing ethylene control products for both commercial and consumer use that increase the shelf life of fresh produce, thereby reducing food wastage both in retail and in Kiwi homes.

How and why has food waste become such a big issue here in New Zealand?

The majority of the food waste that occurs in society today is avoidable. Here in New Zealand we generate similar amounts of waste to other developed western nations, when we could be doing so much better.

Ashwini Sharma, director of Atmopure. Photo / Supplied
Ashwini Sharma, director of Atmopure. Photo / Supplied

The amount of energy that goes into producing food is substantial and we have to start to think more carefully about ensuring everything that is produced is consumed. The great news is that people and businesses are becoming much more aware of the importance of reducing food waste.

What are your long term plans?

To grow the business sustainably and hopefully develop other ways and means of reducing waste. Fresh produce travels all over the globe these days so I am quite intrigued by the RFID technology and the decentralised blockchain technologies which I think can also play a big role in developing a better supply chain.

All of the technologies exist to manage this more intelligently, we just have to be committed to figuring out ways of implementing them.

What advice do you give to others thinking about starting their own business?

You have to passionately believe in your idea, not just be doing it for the financial rewards. Managing your own business is a hard slog and can be very lonely at times and if you are not committed to your idea it could be easy to give up.