B-Fresh Technologies

B-Fresh Technologies

Tackling food waste with an innovative active packaging solution

B-Fresh Technologies

The Serbian start-up B-Fresh Technologies tackles the global problem of food waste with their innovative solutions based on a natural biopolymer emulsion that can be applied onto food packaging in order to extend shelf-life for fresh foods and vegetables. For this reason, B-Fresh has been chosen as the ISC3 Start-up of the month for December 2022.

Year of Foundation:


Addresses the following SDGs:

SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), SDG 13 (climate action)


a woman and two men holding a giant cardboard indicating they won the 2000000 RSD prize money for the Generator ZERO competition
B-Fresh won the 2022 Generator ZERO competition.
a spray bottle of liquid
The B-Fresh Spray can be sprayed onto all kinds of packaging.
Two persons standing back-to-back and looking to the camera
Co-founders Zorica Brankovic and Goran Brankovic.

A research project from Belgrade addressing global issues sustainably

B-Fresh Technologies was founded in 2020 by researchers from the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research at the University of Belgrade, who identified food waste as a major and underestimated problem and wanted to tackle it with a solution that would extend the shelf-life of fresh food. Zorica Brankovic (co-founder and R&D Director at B-Fresh), who is also the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Green Technologies at the University of Belgrade, developed the B-Fresh technology with her colleagues from the University as a solution to prevent food loss, which is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions. “
Everyone knows about transport and factories and this and that, but no one is thinking about food loss as a source of the emissions problem, much less of a solution for it
”, Zorica explains while she elaborates that in Serbia, awareness has come a long way in recent years. “
We are really active in raising awareness ourselves; going on national television, partaking in conferences and fairs
”, she adds.
The researchers developed a spray that allows to harness the known antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of natural ingredients like essential oils by encapsulating them into a biopolymer matrix, thereby allowing a slow release of the active ingredients. Notably, all of the components of B-Fresh’s emulsion are on the GRAS [Generally Recognized as Safe] list, natural and non-toxic. After the development of their technology, the researchers were faced with a decision to make about its future: “
We thought: We are scientists, we will sell our patent or license the technology. But then, we realized that the best way to commercialize our innovation is to do it ourselves. The main reason for this decision was the desire for our innovation to appear on the market as soon as possible.
”, Zorica remembers.
With the support of the Serbian Innovation Fund and the EIT Climate KIC, they launched the project just when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. But they established their production line, developed new products that are more convenient for specific applications and made their first sales. The B-Fresh company was ready to contribute to a more sustainable world with less food waste. Today, it is comprised of the 5 co-founders - four researchers from the University of Belgrade and their Commercial Director with a broad experience in sales in the agri-food sector - and two employees – a chemist and a technician - in their production.

Thinking ahead and being sustainable are key concerns for the research-driven start-up

Although B-Fresh is using natural ingredients, people are suspicious with this novel product as it concerns surfaces that are in contact with food. This is why B-Fresh’s strategy is direct contact as well: “
People are asking: how comes that I haven’t heard of this product? Does it work? Is it safe? So, we are giving out free samples to prove the effectiveness and are addressing the potential worries directly. Our main ingredients are chitosan, which is a supplement for many diets, and gelatine, which is well-established in cooking, and our essential oil is sourced from lemongrass – which is why we have a nice lemony smell in our production facility
”, Zorica says with a smile. As has been mentioned, all of the ingredients are natural and safe. B-Fresh can even be used for organic food packaging and is safe for humans and the environment.
But the researchers do not leave it at this: they are working on alternative versions which are more convenient for big producers that use enormous quantities of small packaging like for berries, for which Serbia is a big exporter. B-Fresh works on stickers and pads that can be easily put inside the packaging and thereby skip the step and effort of spraying and drying the packages. The prototypes’ effectiveness is confirmed by a certified laboratory and, just like the B-Fresh coating itself, do not impact the possible recyclability of the packaging.
“We are trying to be as sustainable as possible. The whole idea was to help, but helping in one way and then create another problem somewhere else would defy our very purpose
”, Zorica states. The Serbian start-up is also working on a vegan formula of their product by sourcing gelatine solely from plant sources and their chitosan from another Serbian start-up that produces it from mushrooms.

Next up at B-Fresh

After their recent scale-up of production to 1.000 litres of emulsion per day, which allowed B-Fresh to enter into bigger contracts and increase sales, the start-up wants to further scale-up and eventually internationalise into EU and North-American markets. They also work on their new prototypes and products to broaden their offer. With their innovative solution to reduce food waste and avoid the associated greenhouse gas emissions, B-Fresh, who was one of the finalists of the ISC3 Innovation Challenge 2022, contributes to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption), and SDG 13 (Climate Action).