Consumers throw away billions of pounds of food every year. Entrepreneur, Bauke Bokma de Boer from The Hague (The Netherlands) has developed a storage system in which food is automatically vacuumed and stays fresh up to five times longer. There is a lot interest in North America with the storage system. “If we have proven ourselves there, the Netherlands will follow automatically.”
For Bauke Bokma De Boer, it was clear from the outset that the Dutch market was too small for Vacuvita’s Home Base system. “We are a new player in the household electronics market and have to compete with well-known brands such as Philips and Magimix. That only works if you have an innovative product and see the whole world as a market.”
The starting point for Vacuvita was the idea that people throw away food because they do not know how to store it properly. “I wanted to make something with which people could easily store food outside the refrigerator and freezer” says the entrepreneur. “The idea was immediate vacuum.”
The result is a kind of luxury bread bin with a built-in pump that automatically creates a vacuum so that food is fresh and sustainable for longer. Think of toasts, chips, fruit, vegetables, bread, coffee beans, nuts, crackers and spices. “For food that needs to be refrigerated, additional containers and bags are available that can also be vacuumed sealed via the Home Base station.”
A problem with storing leftovers is that people can forget after a while, what is in fact stored in the containers. The additional containers are therefore equipped with a QR code with which they can link to the corresponding smartphone app. Users indicate what is in the container, after which the app keeps track of how long it is sustainable.
At the end of 2013, Bauke Bokma de Boer introduced the Vacuvita on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. There was a demand for the product that was actually no more than a detailed idea. “We have exceeded our target amount of € 75,000 five times”. In total, the company also raised € 850,000 through pre-ordering. After that, a group of Rotterdam investors stepped in with several million. The company also received a bank credit.
Then the product had to be made and that turned out to be more difficult than expected. “Because of the high pressure, a round shape is better with vacuum pulling, but I wanted a rectangular design.” By incorporating glass fiber into the plastic, it turned out to be possible. The Home Base station and additional containers are made in China and Taiwan. The electronics and software comes from The Netherlands.
In October 2016 the first eight thousand copies were delivered. The largest rollout is now taking place. “We are working with the large American listed distributor Hamilton Beach Brands. The expectation is that the product will be available at all major retail chains in the US from 2018 onwards. The aim is to sell at least fifty thousand products in the US in a year. In addition, the company is working with distributors in Taiwan, Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
“We approach each market differently. For warm countries with a high humidity, our product is interesting because food products will last much longer. In Great Britain and the Netherlands we focused primarily on cooking enthusiasts. For example, we emphasise that you can marinate quickly under vacuum and we point to the new trend of sous-vide cooking.”
Find the full article here (Dutch only).