Greg Akins with Catalytic Generators

“40 years of exhibiting at trade shows has helped us grow globally”

It is a big anniversary year at Catalytic Generators. The company celebrates its 50th anniversary and this year also marks 40 years of exhibiting at IFPA’s Global Show, the former PMA Fresh Summit. Much has changed in the past half century, both in ethylene ripening as well as the trade show scene.

When Catalytic’s founder started the company in 1973, he pioneered the world’s first ethylene generator for fruit ripening, using Ethy-Gen® Concentrate. The system continuously releases small amounts of ethylene throughout a 24-hour application period. Up until then, the standard application was a ‘lecture bottle’ or ‘tube’, both dangerous and not always effective in initiating the ripening process. From then on, Catalytic was focused on providing a safer and more effective way to apply ethylene and with success.

“The technology spread rapidly in the 1980s,” says Greg Akins, President & CEO of Catalytic Generators. “The concept of our ethylene generator was a huge change to the banana industry and made the ripening process safer and easier.” While the Easy-Ripe® remains the most popular ethylene generator, the invention of the Centralized Ripening System (CRS™) in 2000 marked a major shift for large ripening facilities as it allows them to use multiple generators without manually having to fill the machine. Filling has become an automated process and can be done from one central Ethy-Gen II supply point.

Although Catalytic started with ethylene ripening of bananas, other produce varieties were added through the years. “The work we do in avocados is increasing significantly each year,” said Akins. “In addition, greenhouse grown tomatoes as well as mature green tomatoes are a strong business. We also help with mango ripening and citrus degreening.”

Catalytic's first ethylene generator from 1973 and the latest generator.

Global expansion
Not only has the way ethylene is applied changed in the past half a century, so has the trade show scene. “When we first started exhibiting at PMA Fresh Summit, we were able to meet many ripeners in the USA and explain our novel system,” shared Akins. However, over the years, the international character of the event has grown and these days, we meet prospective clients from across the world. The show has helped us expand our business globally, and it is a key for us to be present with a booth.” Another benefit of exhibiting is to simply connect with many customers face to face. “It gives us an opportunity to thank them for their loyalty to Catalytic, solidify the relationships, and to see how we can enhance their ripening programs.”

Starting in the US, Catalytic’s systems are now available around the globe. “Our first endeavors outside of the US were in Canada. Soon after that, we started partnering with companies experienced in bananas in other countries with Great Britain being the first country outside North America. As we met (potential) customers from around the world, we could explain the advantages of our systems, enabling us to effectively expand in other countries,” Akins remarked. Today, the company is able to support ripeners all over the world, including North America, Europe, Australia, Brazil, and more.

Catalytic's Steve Page talking with customers at Berlin Fruit Logistica 2019.

Fruit Attraction and IFPA’s Global Show
Having a presence at international trade shows continues to be invaluable to Catalytic Generators. Next week, there is an opportunity to meet the team at Fruit Attraction Madrid from October 3-5. The company will be co-exhibiting with Fresh Produce Instruments in stand 5H24, Pavilion 5.

In addition, the team is very much looking forward to exhibiting at IFPA’s Global Produce & Floral Show for the 40th time next month. “We will have many of our ethylene generators on display and bring Ethy-Gen II Ripening Concentrate. In addition, over half of our booth will display many of the products of our sister company, QA Supplies,” Akins mentioned.

These will include postharvest quality instruments, but also a section devoted to non-destructive measurement. “We are looking forward to answering ethylene or ripening related questions, and helping companies improve ethylene application. We’re also available to discuss QA’s line of postharvest instruments.”

Feel free to just stop by the booth or set an appointment in advance by filling out the contact form. Greg Akins, Steve Page, Michael Landry, and Russ Holt are looking forward to meeting up with representatives of chain store distribution centers, wholesale produce companies, and vertically integrated companies from all over the world. Stop by booth 2735 on October 20 and 21 in Anaheim, California.

For more information:
Greg Akins
Catalytic Generators
Tel: +1 (757) 855-0191

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