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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Startup Cutting Freight Footprint, Radically Extending Shelf Life of Fresh Fish

In the weeks leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 4th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will get to know our 11 semi-finalists. Today, meet Sustainably Fresh Systems.I recently caught up with Larry Bell, CEO and Founder of Sustainably Fresh Systems (SFS), a startup that's determined to revolutionize the way fresh fish and other foods are transported, in order to maximize freshness and decrease the carbon footprint and packaging materials inherent in traditional methods of transporting fresh food around the world.

In the weeks leading up to the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) finals on June 4th, where the runner-up will be decided via live online public vote, we will get to know our 11 semi-finalists. Today, meet Sustainably Fresh Systems.

I recently caught up with Larry Bell, CEO and Founder of Sustainably Fresh Systems (SFS), a startup that's determined to revolutionize the way fresh fish and other foods are transported, in order to maximize freshness and decrease the carbon footprint and packaging materials inherent in traditional methods of transporting fresh food around the world.

When was Sustainably Fresh Systems founded? What is the company’s mission?

Sustainably Fresh Systems will enable its customers to profitably provide the safest, freshest, most sustainable, preservative-free, fresh and fresh-cooked refrigerated foods to global markets. We intend to incorporate when funded. We have been working on the business since January 2013.

What made you decide to start this company? What was your background prior to launching SFS?

I have been working on extending the shelf life of fresh fish and seafood for over 30 years and succeeded commercially via my last startup Global Fresh Foods, now known as BluWrap. After recruiting a CEO for Global Fresh Foods, I left the company and began to explore even more cost-effective and reliable possibilities for accomplishing similar freshness and sustainability benefits. That is what led me to refrigeration-system-integrated technologies.

What makes SFS unique?

Currently there are no other providers of refrigeration-integrated systems and services capable of the freshness extensions of fresh fish and seafood that we can provide. Right now fresh seafood is shipped by air to global markets (60 percent of all fresh salmon consumed in the US is air-freighted from Chile — approximately 150 million pounds in 2012). This is very costly and unsustainable. Additionally, we are able to deliver more shelf life at destination than air freight can provide, even after 30 days of ocean transport. Furthermore, we can ship in recyclable, paper-based packaging instead of the non-biodegradable styrofoam used with air freight. These economic and sustainability benefits are unprecedented and substantially beneficial to all stakeholders across fresh value chains.

What have been some of the biggest challenges for SFS as a young startup?

Securing funding to build a production prototype.

What do you hope to get out of participating in the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open?

My hope is that we will receive recognition by major retailers and food service providers that this technology and business opportunity is available and a worthy pursuit.

What are you looking forward to most about attending the conference next week?

Participating in a business community that is committed to delivering benefits to the people and planet.

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