According to the company’s website: “[The] materials used in Stixfresh stickers are 100% natural and fully approved.
“In fact, Stixfresh stickers are so safe you can eat them.”
The materials in question are a mixture of ionised sodium chloride and beeswax – these delay the fruits’ ripening process by working to remove the hormone ethylene, which causes ripening.
The ionised sodium chloride also releases energy slowly and gradually, which retards microbial activity to prevent attacks and diseases.
The sticker was initially invented to target mangoes, but its use was later extended to other fruits with similar size, texture and vulnerabilities.
Currently, its application also applies to maintaining the freshness of apples, pears, avocados, dragon fruits, kiwis, oranges and other citrus fruits, said its website.
“[Freshness] suffers when produce is shipped long distances by sea. [Air] delivery is quicker, but the higher transportation costs would result in higher fruit prices and consequently declining demand,” added inventor Zhafri Zainudin in an online statement.
“[All] farmers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers and customers [in the supply chain will benefit] if fruits could be shipped anywhere in the world while maintaining freshness, quality, and a reasonable cost.
“Indirectly, this would increase the volume of exports creating a significant positive impact on the global economy.”
He added that studies have revealed that StixFresh ‘can extend the freshness of certain fruits by up to 50%’.
Zainudin also sees StixFresh as important in reducing food wastage caused by the long transportation process.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) gets lost or wasted.
Fruits and vegetables (including root crops) top the list for this, comprising some 40% to 50% of total global quantitative food loss and waste.
It is also worth noting that each sticker is for single use only. Since 2017, the company has sold over 1.3 million stickers.
As of November 2017, the going price for a 25-piece packet of StixFresh was advertised as MYR7 (US$1.68) on the company’s Facebook page.
According to Zainudin, gaining acceptance and commercialisation was the hardest part of the company’s growth process.
“When we are involved in food additive technology and have direct contact with fruits, it triggers safety concern among our clients and consumers,” he said to VulcanPost.
StixFresh currently operates out of two offices, one in Malaysia and one in the United States, and has plans to go further.
They are also looking at stickers for smaller-sized fruits with softer skins like berries, as well as for vegetables.