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upp - the innovative and sustainable approach to broccoli harvesting

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by Startacus Admin


Shropshire-based agri-robotics startup upp is automating broccoli harvesting and upcycling the 80% waste into sustainable protein.

hans-ripa-3hzBK2aPf8s-unsplash.jBroccoli. You know it, you lov…well, you know it. We’ve all been in bed late at night, staring at the ceiling, with a nagging question going around our heads: how much broccoli is wasted in every broccoli crop? Well, wonder no more, for we have the answer! Up to a massive 80% of broccoli crops are wasted and left to rot in the fields. This is because we only want the florets - the bit that looks like tiny trees - and not the stalks or the leaves, which contain fibre, iron, potassium, vitamins C and K, and protein, just like the tiny trees. We may not eat those parts of the broccoli plant, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still get that 70-80% of wasted nutrients and proteins from them.

download (21)Shropshire-based agri-robotics startup upp has created a two-pronged system to address this. The startup has seen the decreased sustainability of soy production and knows that the wasted broccoli can be used as a substitute plant-based protein. Rather than producing crops specifically for that purpose, upp instead is making use of crops that already exist, increasing efficiency and sustainability, while reducing emissions from rotting vegetables.

The startup is working on an automated harvester that will be able to harvest both the florets and the rest of the plant separately, using artificial intelligence. Their patented machinery will attach to tractors like any other harvesting tool and will do all the work automatically. This will allow a farmer to continue delivering the broccoli as usual, without any additional hassle, as well as providing the stalks and leaves for other products.

upp recently announced that they had raised £500,000 in funding in a pre-seed round led by Elbow Beach Capital. This funding will go towards piloting both the harvesting and ‘uppcycling’ aspects of the platform, with three field-to-protein pilots in the UK, Spain, and California due to be completed by the end of 2024. The first commercial production of upp’s broccoli protein will then start in late 2024.



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Published on: 9th March 2023

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