- Tell us something about yourself, your background
My name is Gary Growden, inventor of several products, primarily with food and beverage storage systems for consumers and large commercial storage products that are all similarly related. My background was in music as a professional singer songwriter – which, if successful, makes you fairly creative to begin with. But… just in case I didn’t hit the “bigtime” musically, I started an equipment leasing business specializing in the food processing and packaging industry.
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
Once again, the creative juices started flowing and I started to think. People are starving around the world and food waste is a big deal globally. If we can save food – more people can eat. Simple! So, I started researching the waste numbers and found that consumers contribute the largest portion of that waste. Wow! I thought how can we use this big packaging equipment technology and downsize it to the consumer level? This is where I developed Natural Storage Systems. It extends the shelf life of food products, even leftovers, far longer and far safer than traditional storage techniques. I exhibited my products at the International Housewares Show and was given the “Inventors Recognition Award” for the “Most Innovative and Best New Invention” for 2017 by the International Housewares Association.
- Can you list the products you have invented with a brief explanation of each?
My system utilizes a technology called Modified Atmosphere Packaging or “MAP”. Simply put – MAP is what is used in most everyday food products to keep them fresh from the producer to the grocery. It has been used by food processors and packager since the 1930’s.
Example: potato chips, bagged cheese, bagged lettuce and salads, fruits, nuts, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish are all kept in MAP packaging. MAP is the exchange of oxygen inside a package and replaced with (typically) nitrogen. All natural, organic, and comes directly from the air we breathe. 78% of the air we breathe is nitrogen, 21% oxygen and approximately 1% CO2 and other trace elements. Oxygen causes – oxidation, mould, bacteria, and other micro-organisms to form. Rodent and bug infestation also occur. These things cannot live in an oxygen free environment.
My storage system comes complete with canisters of nitrogen, specially designed bowls and bags (MAP compliant) and an attachment that clips onto existing bread bags to keep you bread fresher – longer. How many times have you opened an 8 pack of hamburger buns – used two or four of them, then the rest dries out or gets mouldy by the time you needed them again.
On my larger commercial system, we convert 20’ and 40’ shipping containers, making them hermetically sealed (or use a liner) to ship corn, grains, beans, and several other food products and by-products globally. Most food shipped today ends up mouldy or full of bugs, rodents, bacteria, etc. My system stops all of that and ships safely, effectively and in perfect condition regardless of the length of time to ship or external factors such as weather and other hazards.
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
All of this, of course takes time and money. I used credit cards, friends and family to help bootstrap the early stages of development. After the prototype stages we were ready for production we needed more money, so I searched for investors. Having been in the finance world (equipment leasing) this was easily accomplished. Several hundreds of thousands of dollars later plus the International Housewares Show, three TV shows, knocking on doors and hard work – it started to pay off. I have now licensed the systems out to several very large players in home storage and a CBD and hemp processor/packager.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
My only resource in development was my knowledge of the food processing and packaging industry, finance and the internet. I talked to a couple of engineers to tweak bits and pieces and then took the system to two different independent testing laboratories. Had to make sure I was right in my assessments. I was!
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