Vacuum drawer extends life of food

Lucerne startup Novaris is developing a vacuum drawer that keeps fruit and vegetables fresh for up to three times longer. The product is currently undergoing tests by researchers. It is set to launch on the market in spring 2020.

Vacuum drawer
Image credit: Novaris

Novaris is striving to make food that does not need refrigeration last longer. To this end, the startup based in the Technopark Lucerne has developed an innovative drawer called soneva. When the drawer is closed, the lid lowers onto the container with food. Once the container has been sealed airtight, a vacuum pump removes all air. Lowering the oxygen level means there is less nourishment for bacteria. The soneva drawer therefore keeps fruit and vegetables fresh for up to three times longer.

To regulate moisture within the drawer, the startup has integrated a sensor – if the humidity level is too high, the lid opens automatically to release moisture. This is especially important for storing baked goods.

At present, soneva is being tested by researchers from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), as was reported in an article in the Luzerner Zeitung newspaper. The testing will examine the regulation of humidity and the extent to which the vitamin degradation in fruit and vegetables is delayed through the reduction of oxygen in the drawer.

The soneva drawer is set to launch on the market in 2020, as the Novaris founder Daniel Bertschi explained to the newspaper. The system is being manufactured in Hochdorf LU. This technology does not come cheap: the system will cost 1,500 Swiss francs, including VAT and installation but not the drawers. However, Daniel Bertschi says this investment more than pays off, because 2,000 francs worth of food is thrown away by every household in Switzerland each year. The vacuum drawer will help reduce food waste. Another advantage is that the drawer does not use much electricity, with the usage of the vacuum pump reportedly lower than that of any fridge light.

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