L-R Amy Wilkinson, Marc Braterman and Richard Elliott

Technology officer Amy Wilkinson, CEO Marc Braterman and chief commercial officer Richard Elliott (l-r)

Food tech firm OSY Group has received a five-figure grant from Innovate UK Business Growth to accelerate international growth ambitions for its flagship technology to increase the shelf life of fresh produce.

The backing will help the business advance partnership opportunities and undertake research as it looks to enter markets in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

OSY’s Xtend technology is a water-based antimicrobial coating that enables fruit and vegetables to stay fresher for longer by leaving microscopic pins on packaging surfaces which puncture and kill microbes, slowing the natural spoiling process.

It has undergone extensive testing in the UK at independent laboratories, universities and other facilities, which, the company said, had proven the technology to be food-safe and compliant with food contact materials regulations for fresh produce.

Manchester-based OSY, which previously raised £1m from individual investors, is set to bring Xtend to market in the UK and internationally over the next few months.

“Having proven our technology in fresh fruit in the UK, we now wish to understand how Xtend can be adapted for different markets, and it’s great to have the support of Innovate UK as we seek to maximise opportunities overseas,” said CEO Marc Braterman.

“Our technology tackles a global problem whereby one-third of all food goes to waste, and this contributes between 8% and 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

“The demand for our product is evident, and this latest funding will enable us to accelerate our research and development on fresh produce in other types of packaging and climates, as well as extending to include meats, fish, poultry and bakery items.

“This will materially support our expansion on a global level by also enabling us to test the viability of new markets and to understand key variables and relevant criteria in targeted territories, as well as the regulatory environments.”

The latest funding from Innovate UK, which has provided OSY with more than £500k in backing to date, came from the innovation agency’s Global Explorers Programme, aimed at supporting UK SMEs to carry out projects that will help them to explore global opportunities and build research and innovation partnerships internationally.

Andreas Johansen, senior innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK Business Growth, added: “OSY Group is a highly innovative company, which has already made promising connections overseas and wants to make the most of these opportunities.

“We are proud to be part of OSY Group’s exciting R&D journey. This includes supporting Marc and the team with innovation funding through the Innovate UK Better Food for All competition, and now with international opportunities.”