Montreal-based foodtech company Relocalize has closed a $1.4 million pre-seed round to fund the development of an automated food micro-factory.   

The round was led by senior executives from Slack and Emerson, a former chief executive of Sobeys, and an undisclosed US-based retail chain.

Relocalize’s chief executive Wayne McIntyre said: “Our food system is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. At Relocalize, we drastically reduce the carbon footprint of production by eliminating long-haul transportation. We’re making food where people live, unlike conventional centralised producers.”

The company plans to deploy thousands of micro-factories at grocery distribution centres across North America. Its first micro-factory, which will produce packaged ice, will be deployed next month.

Former Sobeys chief executive Marc Poulin said: “Consumers increasingly factor sustainability into their buying decisions and retailers have taken note. Our industry needs innovative suppliers like Relocalize to achieve our sustainability objectives. Their technology reduces both cost and CO2, which is transformative.”

Since the company’s founding last November, Relocalize in-licensed, designed, patented, prototyped and tested its technology, as well as secured a Southern-US retail launch partner for its first sustainable premium ice micro-factory.

McIntyre said: “We’re starting with ice because the standard practice of trucking frozen water long distances just doesn’t make ecological or economic sense. 24 billion pounds of packaged ice travels across the United States and Canada from centralised production plants to retailers, and our mission is to disrupt this $6 billion market and prove the benefits of re-localisation.”

Date published: 13 October 2021

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