CuanTec takes GBP 150,000 top prize for chitosan innovation

Published on
June 28, 2017

A Scottish start-up that is using langoustine shells to form an anti-microbial food packaging material has won a major business competition in the United Kingdom.

Motherwell, Scotland based-CuanTec Ltd. was awarded first prize and GBP 150,000 (USD 192,000, EUR 170,000) at the Scottish EDGE Round 10 competition for science, technology and engineering-focused businesses. The ceremony took place on 22 June in Edinburgh and awards businesses with “the potential to be world-leading and which could be commercialized on a global scale.”

CuanTec uses a novel biological process to extract chitosan and other components from waste langoustine shells, which it then mixes with other biopolymers to produce antimicrobial, compostable biodegradable food packaging material.

“In the six 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,” CuanTec Chief Operating Officer Ryan Taylor said. Taylor is credited with inventing CuanTec’s technology.

With its product, CuanTec is aiming to reduce waste and spoilage in the global food chain. Every year in U.K. alone, retail and manufacture sectors lose GBP 2 billion (USD 2.6 billion, EUR 2.3 billion) because of food waste.

“Food waste, due to bacterial spoilage is a major issue, especially with growing populations and ever more pressure to feed people,” the company said. “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.”

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 of 2018, pending regulatory approval, it said in a press release.

“This award is fantastic recognition for the CuanTec team, and is a springboard for commercializing the process and products CuanTec is developing,” CuanTec CEO Cait Murray-Green said. “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.”

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