”Our business concept is to contribute to a more sustainable society through offering consumers and businesses cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and robust packaging solutions. Our product, the iFoodbag®, is an innovative carrier bag for which several worldwide patents are pending. It protects chilled and frozen food for up to 24 hours, and is suitable for retailers such as e-commerce companies selling foods online”, says Karl Fallgren, CEO and founder of ifoodbag AB.
Karl Fallgren has double M.Sc. degrees from KTH as well as a M.Sc. degree in business and economy from the university of Stockholm. Nevertheless, his career didn’t take off in academia – but as a grocer. Karl opened his first 7-Eleven stores in Stockholm when he was 21 years old, and they ranked among the most profitable ones in Sweden. More than 15 years later, he still has a connection to grocery shopping with ”The Cold Pack System” and the newly launched product iFoodbag®.
Very high insulating capability
”I founded the company in parallel with my studies to develop a concept for home delivery of groceries. Other companies beat me to it though, and I began to think about the logistics costs in the food industry. One specific issue that came to mind was whether there were alternatives to expensive and polluting cold chain transports of food. That was how I came up with the bag with chiller and freezer function”, Karl Fallgren explains.
”After seven years of work, together with scientists at KTH and the research institute Innventia, the product is now fully developed”, Karl says. ”It looks like a conventional paper bag, but it contains several innovations. One is a new composite material with very high insulating capability, derived from paper. Another important part of the packaging is the air-tight sealing”.
”The bag has been tested by independent experts at the Innventia research institute. The tests were performed both in accredited laboratories and with a number of well-established participants within the online-based grocery store segment. The results show that the bag manages to keep goods, such as foodstuffs, frozen and chilled for up to 24 hours”, Karl says.
Since a number of patents are pending, the company is reluctant to reveal the specifics of its construction. The carrier bag consists of at least 80 percent Swedish cellulose. It is water resistant and withstands a load of 20 kg, without compromising the cold chain. The bag can be re-used several times before being recycled as paper. ”Our technology allows online retailers to lower their logistics costs by 10-70 SEK per bag”, Karl says.
iFoodbag® will be manufactured in Poland in collaboration with the international packaging and paper group Mondi. Mondi has prepared a dedicated production line in Poland to manufacture the new bags. The product is expected to reach the Swedish market in 2016. The first official partnership is with Mat.se, which recently launched a service using the bag. Other online grocers are currently conducting tests.
A bag of groceries in the trunk of the Volvo
In Gothenburg, Volvo and e-commerce company Mat.se are currently launching the Volvo In-car Delivery service. It is based on the use of a digital key which Mat.se uses to open and close the car once. Volvo drivers who sign up for the Volvo In-Car Delivery service can order their goods online, and then specify when and where they want the groceries delivered to their car. The owner of the car receives a message upon delivery, and can easily bring the groceries home without having to stop at the supermarket. The bags from iFoodbag guarantee that the cold chain is maintained until the driver shows up.
A number of opportunities
”Cold chain transports of food is the primary application, and the insulating property can be combined with dry ice cooling, for example. The packaging is also suited for transporting hot food. An obvious advantage is that less food will go to waste, and we are working to improve food distribution in tropical climate countries. Temperature sensitive medical products is another possible use. We see a lot of opportunities, in Sweden and internationally. Our goal is to sell 20 million bags during 2016. Clients include both e-commerce companies and food shops”, says Karl Fallgren.
The article was published in February 2016