Episode 18

Trendi: Fighting Food Waste Through Robotics and Automation

Carissa Campeotto and Craig McIntosh are the Co-founders of Trendi, a tech company developing robotics to help the farm and food industry rescue and upcycle food waste into valuable products.

52 minutes | Jun. 7, 2023

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Craig McIntosh and Carissa Campeotto are the Co-founders of Trendi, a Vancouver-based tech company that uses robotics and automation to reduce food waste by upcycling it into valuable products. Trendi’s BioTrim units go direct to the source — farms, fisheries, distributors — to convert surplus or unsalable (visually nonconforming) foods into shelf-stable, nutrient-dense single commodity ingredients. Because these products are processed on-site at optimal freshness, they retain a “straight from the farm” flavor but in a compact form that can be stored and transported for a fraction of the cost of fresh produce. Trendi uses the resulting freeze-dried or pureed products in its smoothie machines and also distributes them to manufacturers.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Carissa Campeotto and Craig McIntosh’s journey to founding Trendi
  • How Trendi obtained funding to develop their technology
  • Trendi’s process for tracking and eliminating food waste
  • The impact of robotics and automation on farmers and food manufacturers
  • Collaborating with communities to extract value and develop innovative food waste solutions
  • Craig and Carissa’s hopes for the future

In this episode…

Canada has one of the highest levels of food waste per capita in the world. Up to 60% of the food produced in Canada annually is wasted or relegated to a secondary market to feed animals; 32% of that food is edible and could be used to feed local communities. Preventing food waste requires tracking it at each stage of the supply chain, including farming, distribution, processing and manufacturing, retail, and consumption. With such a complex system, how can you implement solutions to eliminate waste while maintaining profitability for food producers?

Most people consider food waste an inevitable component of production and consumption. But according to Carissa Campeotto and Craig McIntosh, waste can be eliminated if you alter your perspective to identify and maximize value for all stakeholders involved in the supply chain. Trendi goes direct to the source and leverages robotics and automation to transform undesirable or excess foods into valuable commodities. For instance, Trendi separates the skin, seeds, and biomass from a piece of fruit before extracting its oil, water, and other components. These are converted into purposeful products for various industries including sustainable cosmetics, textiles, and biofuels. Additionally, Trendi has built the world’s first beverage machine using reusable packaging.

Resources mentioned in this episode: