Shel-Life’s organic fruit natural coating is currently collaborating with Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center.
Dr. Carolina A. Torres, Associate Professor and Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Postharvest Systems' at WSU, leads the research team that is currently evaluating new coatings for the organic apple industry in Washington State, where Shel-Life could become the local market´s most natural option.
As an essential component for humans and their development, the fresh fruit industry must be at all times aligned with consumer demands for healthier food and superior quality. And it is precisely under this framework, that PolyNatural, an Agtech company, combines technology and innovation with a deep concern for the environment, natural resources and, above all, end consumers, arising to meet consumer ongoing demands.
Shel-Life is its main product, an edible coating created from 100% natural and organic certified polymers and extracts that extend the shelf life of fresh fruit after its harvest reducing unnecessary food loss. Unlike conventional coatings -made with synthetic ingredients- like those used today by fruit packing companies, Shel-Life is 100% natural and certified organic, designed for the well-being of consumers.
Considering this and the global importance of Washington State’s apple industry, a collaborative alliance was formed between PolyNatural and Washington State University’s Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center located in Wenatchee, WA, a hub that conducts cutting-edge research to develop and apply new science-based knowledge and products to advance economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable agriculture for industries and communities in Washington and the world specializing in entomology, horticulture, plant physiology, plant pathology, soil biology, and irrigation. The northwestern states of the US are globally recognized for being some of the most relevant places in the world for apple production and export, and thanks to institutions such as the Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, the industry’s technological innovation has been able to expand.
The collaboration between PolyNatural and the Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center seeks to evaluate and validate Shel-Life’s performance on apples, particularly varieties such as Cosmic Crisp®, Honeycrisp and Granny Smith.
In the words of the founder and CTO of Polynatural, Francisco Palma, this collaboration pursues that “an impartial, external institution, validated by the local industry and very rigorous experimentally, validate the results that Shel-Life has presented both at a laboratory scale and with the different clients who are using the product in Chile, Argentina and Peru”. According to Palma, since there are fewer alternatives to avoid or delay the deterioration of organic fresh fruit, this is an environmental and consumer friendly way to reduce product waste.
The results of these evaluations will allow the PolyNatural team to reach the North American industry. Agustina Fabbio, CEO of the company, tells us; "We hope to be able to close with clients from the apple and pear US organic market, given that it is a very important commercial sector in terms of volume and that, furthermore, has been growing at a yearly rate of at least 5% recently. In other words, organic apple production is growing and we have a product that not only performs excellently on organic fruit, but also maintains its condition.”
PolyNatural offers one of the only coatings in the industry that even after application maintains the fruit in its original organic state. Fabbio adds, "By improving the quality and extending the fruit’s shelf life, our product contributes to reducing food waste." Consequently, directly impacting global food waste reduction.