To reduce food waste and provide the consumer with a fresher, longer-lasting product, the world has been seeing an increase of companies that offer shelf-life extending applications. Some of the solutions in the market include developments in packaging technology, edible coatings, and powders. “We have developed a solution that is unique from other applications currently available,” says Gordon Robertson with Verdant Technologies™. Robertson is referring to HarvestHold™, a new technology that is in the process of being brought to the market.
Application at box level
Using a flexographic printing process, the 1-MCP based technology is applied to a sheet of PET, that can then be inserted into a master container. “Although there are many 1-MCP solutions out there that block ethylene, our product is unique because of the ease and reliability of application,” said Robertson. Sheets of HarvestHold™ are simply applied to boxes, clamshells, and other packaging types and the technology is activated naturally by the produce in the box. “Once the sheet is applied and the produce begins respiration, the 1-MCP gas begins releasing, suspending the natural respiration of the fruit and slowing the ripening process.” Until recently, application was primarily limited to air-tight containers, but Verdant Technologies has expanded the possibilities of application down to the box level. “It is a very simplistic solution that doesn’t require additional rooms or space for application, and we are the only company with this delivery system in the market,” added Robertson.
To maximize the shelf-life extending impact, it’s best for the solution to be put in as close to harvest time as possible. If needed, a second solution can be added at a later stage in the supply chain, during repacking for instance.
HarvestHold™ is preparing to enter the market with various grower-partners, beginning with the US, Colombia, and Mexico. “Our solution has a global footprint and allows producers and distributors to expand markets, reaching further with fresher products. We have plans to follow supply chains around the world to leading grower-producer regions in Central America, Peru, Chile, and South Africa.” Broccoli, tomatoes, melons, and stone fruit are some examples of produce items that have been trialed extensively and many other varieties are in the development pipeline. In addition to fresh produce, HarvestHold™ has shown strong results in floral products, and Verdant recently announced a partnership with Chrysal, one of the major players in the floral care industry. “Right now, our goal is to work with our grower-partners to help solve their issues and better understand their needs,” said Robertson. He expects discussions with other supply chain constituents to follow. “Superior products sell better and following grower trials, discussions with customers throughout the food and floral industry are a next logical step.”
Impact of pandemic
When asked if the global pandemic had an impact on the development of Verdant’s HarvestHold™ technology, Robertson shared the importance of technology and how he believes HarvestHold™ brings a solution to the challenges the world is facing. “Because of COVID-19, we all became even more reliant on the use of technology and it’s technology that has helped us deliver on every timeline in bringing HarvestHold™ to market.”
What’s even more important is that produce continued to flow through the supply chain this entire time. “If anything, demand for produce increased this year and our solution can play a key role in bringing health to the people and the market. It is really about the notion of nutrition as the world has more people than we can bring the food to,” said Robertson. Reduced shrink as well as enhanced quality and nutritional content will deliver nourishment to more people in more places.