As a part of my research for a project focusing on reducing food wastage, I found S4S Technologies which is a pioneer in providing solutions for storing agricultural produce with the Solar conductor dryer.S4S Technologies is a Mumbai based food preservation startup that invents new food processing machines and sells these machines to farmers or uses them at their own facility to produce the best quality processed food.
According to UN estimations, millions of tonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables go waste every year and around 40% of food produced in India is lost due to its perishability. Hailing from a rural background and from a family of farmers, Vaibhav is aware of key challenges and problems faced by the farming community, which has long been lowered to the backburner in India. He understood that one of the most vital problems faced by farmers was the lack of a proper mechanism to preserve their agricultural produce. As a result, farmers are forced to sell the fruits & vegetables of their months-long labor for a song — some even just let it go waste. A cold storage or refrigeration system is not available in rural India, where electricity is either a fantasy or a one-time visitor. Thus Vaibhav Tidke along with his friends started S4S technologies and started selling dried produce like fruits, vegetables and meat to companies. They have developed a Solar Conductor Dryer (SCD) that can be used to preserve the perishable commodities up to a year. Its food-drying technology helps enhance the shelf life of fruits & vegetables without adding any preservatives to the mix and the dryer can be also used to preserve meats and seafood.
“A solar dryer (SCD) is a 6X6 ft machine which can be assembled and dismantled, can be kept in an open area, such as a terrace or backyard. It does not require electricity supply and other maintenance as the dryers work on a renewable source of energy and the dryer allows the company to do food preservation at a 40 percent lesser cost than other industrial norms,” Vaibhav says in an interview.
The solar dryer costs below US$90 and has been installed in more than 1,200 sites so far.Also, a solar grain and seed dryer is also available developed by S4S as well. Apart from India, the dryer is used in many countries across the world such as France, Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Bangladesh .They have also received an undisclosed amount of seed capital from US-based angel investors FactorE Ventures.
Vaibhav says, “S4S is the ecosystem that eliminates all middlemen, simplifies logistics, storage costs and now serving the food and today over 200,000 meals are made using S4S onion in India for railways, flights, hotels, corporates, and households.”
Their target audience includes caterers, hotels, restaurants, farmers and now a consumer of snacks. At present, the startup procures fresh produce from more than 1,000 farmers, and there are around 200 farmers-cum-micro-entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) from 13 villages in Maharashtra who are processing dehydrated food for S4S.
S4S website also has some novel and attractive products like dehydrated vegetables, dehydrated fruit candies and other fruit and vegetable powders. Do order them and share your experience with us in the comments below!