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Bringing exports into the equation
Shelf-life extension of organic citrus unlocks opportunities for retailers
In addition to avocados, Apeel Sciences is now releasing an application to extend shelf-life of citrus. “We are very excited to launch our second category,” says Jordan Hudson, VP of Strategy with Apeel Sciences. The citrus category includes lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit and other citrus varieties the company’s customers are interested in, and the company is in the process of confirming initial pilot partners across citrus categories.
In Eco Farms, the company has found its first citrus partner. Eco Farms already works with Apeel on avocados and is now also treating its organic citrus with Apeel’s product for organic produce, which meets the California certified organic standards.
Non-Apeel treated citrus versus citrus treated with Apeel over a 30-day period.
Maintaining citrus quality and reducing mass loss
“Apeel reduces the amount of water loss in citrus by up to 67 percent,” shared Hudson. “In addition, it reduces the amount of shrinkage by up to 70 percent.” Fundamentally, the solution helps citrus maintain internal as well as external quality, leading to a better appearance on the shelf and at home.
Export opportunity for organic citrus
“Most of our citrus is organic,” says Andy Hamilton, CEO of Eco Farms. “For several reasons, I see tremendous opportunities to treat citrus with Apeel’s product for organic produce. First of all, shelf-life of organic citrus is an issue as there is no fungicide allowed in the wax we apply to the skin.” In conventional citrus the wax contains a fungicide to prevent decay and as a result the product can be exported around the globe. With organic citrus on the other hand, the shipping radius is much more limited. Apeel product for organic produce can be applied to citrus instead of a wax and it protects the fruit and gives shippers access to markets they couldn’t export to in the past due to shelf-life limitations. “Essentially, Apeel’s coating brings exports into the equation, which has not been a consideration for us up until now,” shared Hamilton. “We have an export program in place for avocados, but not for citrus. However, some customers in the UK have already expressed interest in receiving California-grown organic citrus. This technology will be able to take us into new markets.”
From left to right: Andy Hamilton, CEO with EcoFarms, Camille Hanna, Michelle Masek and James Rogers with Apeel Sciences. Rogers shows the difference between a lemon that's treated with Apeel versus a non-treated lemon.
Reduced shrink improves retailer revenues
“In addition to export opportunities, I see some real potential advantages for retailers,” Hamilton continued. Not only shelf-life advantages, but also reduced shrink as most citrus is sold by the weight. This results in more potential revenue for the retailer. Eco Farms have been treating organic avocados for several months and are seeing very strong results. “We are now doing some smaller treatments to citrus to build up the data and see what application levels are needed, but once our customers are ready to start receiving citrus treated with the Apeel-product, we are ready to start shipping,” Hamilton concluded.
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