GreenPod Labs mimics the natural chemical signaling in whole plants to keep harvested produce fresher for longer. 


  • Reduced hunger
  • Reduced waste
  • Reduced synthetic chemical use


  • Food storage
  • Food distribution chains

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 1: No Poverty

  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption

The Challenge

Currently, between 40 and 60 percent of all the produce that we grow spoils before we can eat it, especially in areas without developed cold-storage facilities and processes. This wastes half of humanity’s harvest while a billion people around the world face hunger every day.

That high spoilage rate also represents a quarter of our global freshwater supplies––and a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions––squandered on food that is never consumed.


Innovation Details

GreenPod Labs has devised a way to harness the unique natural signaling substances of different fruits and vegetables and capture them in small sachets that can be placed in crates of specific produce. There, the compounds gradually rise into the air, taking over the role of the parent plant in sending signals that those living fruits and vegetables read loud and clear.

As they waft onto the produce, they trigger any number of chemical or physical responses: Some control the opening of “breathing pores”, some lessen the production of gasses that encourage ripening, and some reduce the production of enzymes that decompose cell walls ––slowing down the ripening (and spoiling) process.

Other plant extracts in the sachets activate a natural immune system response that resists attacks by microbes.



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GreenPod Labs’ sachets work at ambient temperatures, keeping food fresh even in areas without access to cold storage and cold supply chain facilities.

Since they contain natural ingredients and don’t leave any residue, they don’t have detrimental impacts on the safety or nutritional value of the produce. Initial tests show that the sachets can extend the shelf life of the first targeted fruits and vegetables by 40 to 60 percent.

Since each type of fruit and vegetable has its own unique defense mechanism, the company continues to investigate the unique signals of other food-providing plants.

Biological Model

The tomato on your counter, the lettuce in your fridge, the produce spilling out of buckets and shelves in kitchens and markets around the world … is alive!

When parts are detached and removed, they lose critical lines of communication with the parent plant. When harvested, fruits and vegetables lose contact and communication with the plants on which they grew, but they don’t die. They live for days, weeks, or even longer––making and breaking down chemicals and nutrients, and responding to various aspects of their surroundings.

Whole plants have many natural built-in defense mechanisms, producing and responding to chemical cues to control the rate of ripening and fight off microbes and insects.

Ray of Hope Prize®

GreenPod Labs was awarded the 2022 Ray of Hope Prize, which celebrates nature-inspired solutions addressing the world’s biggest environmental and sustainability challenges. Created in honor of Ray C. Anderson, founder of Interface, Inc. and a business and sustainability leader, the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize helps startups cross a critical threshold in becoming viable businesses by amplifying their stories and providing them with equity-free funding. The prize shines a light on the innovative, nature-inspired solutions that we need to build a sustainable and resilient world.