Tomatoes with unique tastes and shapes, seedless snack peppers propagated from seeds, and small-fruited melons, all with exceptionally high yields, continue to be delivered by Breedx based in Israel. According to Lior Carmeli, Breedx CEO: "Our aim is to have the complete color range of mini pepper varieties for commercial production in each segment over the next two to three years from seeds."
Today, Breedx seedless peppers are growing commercially in Spain for European markets, in Mexico and Canada for North American markets, and in both South Africa and Israel for local markets, with ongoing trials in other markets.
Breedx seedless, sweet mini pepper varieties are sold under the Pepperito brand and focus on two snack segments – 1Bite with a length of up to six cm and a mini-Kapia type of a fruit length between 8 and 15 cm. Additional snack segments are at an advanced breeding stage and will become commercial soon. Today, there are three varieties that can be reproduced by seeds, two for red mini kapia, one for red 1Bite, and the other varieties, presently grown by vegetative propagation, are 'on the way' to seeds. While red is the dominant color, there are also yellow and orange varieties in their portfolio.
Caremeli says over the last 25 years, consumers of fresh vegetables have shown an increased awareness of the produce that they eat. "Health aspects are increasingly important, and a different or special taste can encourage consumption while new segments that are differentiated and innovative can be a marketing attraction. For tomatoes, with an excess of segments already on the shelf, there is a demand for a consistently improved and special taste. Cucumbers with a much higher dry matter percentage than normal would greatly help the Fresh Cut sector, where cucumber is the first to deteriorate in the packet. Melons with edible peels are a Holy Grail. Sweet Pepper with no seeds at all, not fewer seeds, but not even one seed, but fruit and vegetables that could be relied upon to be 100% seed-free, grown from seeds, has been the ultimate challenge!"
Breedx, established in Israel in 2017, together with the license from Syngenta, hired breeder Benny Nir to continue a seedless pepper program. The focus of Breedx is on the conventional breeding of specialized vegetables. The company has developed a highly innovative breeding program for the taste traits of tomatoes with a unique shape. Breedx has recently entered the field of melon breeding, but sweet, tasty, seedless pepper is still the leading and most advanced of Breedx activities, says Carmeli.
The approach of the company is to benefit growers while meeting the ever-changing needs of the target market. "The main benefit to the grower is potentially higher yields as the plant energy required for seed production within the fruit can be diverted to additional fruit production. For the smaller-sized varieties in three colors (red, yellow, and orange), the target is the consumer looking for a healthy sweet, and tasty snack food requiring minimum preparation. The top of the small pepper can be chopped off and, without the need to extract any seeds, the inside stuffed with the preferred filling, whether it be cream cheese or mince. Looking ahead, a large-fruited pepper without seeds will be a great boon to the Fresh Cut – ready salads mix sector," concludes Carmeli.