Putting the shell into shelf-life – CuanTec takes £150k top prize in major national business awards
Motherwell, Scotland – At a glittering awards ceremony in Edinburgh on 22nd June, innovative Scottish start-up business CuanTec won the Scottish EDGE’s Round 10 competition for science, technology and engineering-focused businesses, the Higgs EDGE. This special award is aimed at entrepreneurs who have a company that has applied leading edge technology to an innovative product, or product under development in the Science, Technology or Engineering sector, which has the potential to be world-leading and could be commercialised on a global scale.
CuanTec are focussed on circular economy approaches to reduction of food waste and spoilage in the food chain. Food waste, due to bacterial spoilage is a major issue, especially with growing populations and ever more pressure to feed people. CuanTec is currently engaged in a SMART Scotland feasibility study, developing a novel food packaging material derived from food waste, namely langoustine shells. CuanTec put waste langoustine shells through a novel biological process to obtain chitosan and other high-value components from the shells. The chitosan obtained is mixed with other biopolymers to produce antimicrobial, compostable biodegradable food packaging material. The company has recently provided early-stage prototypes to fish processors for testing and expect these products to move to production in 2018 and to market by end 2018 with regulatory approval.
Every year in UK alone, retail and manufacture sectors lose £2 billion because of food waste. The seafood industry loses many millions of pounds per year due to spoilage of product down the distribution chain. CuanTec’s novel products will significantly reduce these losses, and ensure that premium Scottish seafood products arrive at the consumer in peak condition. CuanTec offers financial and environmental benefits at every stage of the production and distribution process.
Dr Ryan Taylor, CSO and the inventor of CuanTec’s novel technology said “In the 6 months since starting up, CuanTec has made tremendous advances in developing the chitosan extraction process and prototyping the packaging product. CuanTec is well on track to move to scale-up and commercial production”.
Dr Cait Murray-Green, CEO, thanked the Higgs EDGE judges for their support, and said “This award is fantastic recognition for the CuanTec team, and is a springboard for commercialising the process and products CuanTec is developing. CuanTec has big ambitions, and within the next year we will be in a strong position to seek further investment to move to full commercial production”.
CuanTec Ltd is based at BioCity in Motherwell, and started R&D in January 2017. Cuantec is supported by Scottish Enterprise, Gabriel Investments, the Scottish Investment Bank and the University of Strathclyde.