A Philadelphia-based food preservation and waste reduction company has launched a new data-backed, insights-driven solution for monitoring produce quality through the supply chain. This new platform was made possible through a recent acquisition by the company.
AgroFresh Solutions Inc., a food preservation and waste reduction solutions company for fresh produce, recently acquired Verigo, an Internet of Things (IoT) company offering end-to-end visibility and management of cold-chain logistics.
“Verigo’s IoT technology and cloud-based customer platform complemented our decades-long expertise on produce freshness and the science behind keeping fruit and vegetables fresh and minimizing waste,” says Tilo Gomez, director of new business development at AgroFresh. “It allowed us to bring together data-driven offerings rooted in scientific know-how and technical expertise to form a comprehensive platform that relies on the best technology and the best science.”
This merger has led to the creation of FreshCloud, a comprehensive technology platform that prevents food waste by tracking produce quality throughout the value chain and providing actionable insights from farm to retailer.
“While we had several data-driven initiatives such as Storage Insights in the works, our acquisition of Verigo earlier this year provided a catalyst to develop this comprehensive data offering for our customers,” says Gomez.
The multifaceted platform optimizes produce storage, transportation and consumption. Data can be accessed at any time on any iOS, Android and Chrome device through the FreshCloud app.
This data allows for end-to-end visibility and logistics management while transporting produce, provides a look into produce storage room health to predict and fix problems through inventory management and allows for early prediction of storage disorder risk.
“FreshCloud Storage Insights is a revamped version of our AdvanStore offering, which benefited our SmartFresh customers with storage room data to help them better manage their harvest,” says Gomez. “Now, FreshCloud Storage Insights is available to more customers, with relevant room-health data and a more sophisticated interface that includes alerts.”
Several technologies form the backbone of FreshCloud. The cloud-based platform utilizes IoT technology, machine learning and predictive analytics.
FreshCloud Predictive Screening, part of the FreshCloud platform, predicts the risk of disorder development during storage by analyzing gene expression at commercial harvest, resulting in more informed storage management decisions.
“FreshCloud prevents food waste by optimizing efficiency and decision-making throughout the value chain. It helps everyone from the farm to the store make smarter, faster decisions about transporting fresh produce,” says Gomez. “With FreshCloud, gone are the days of the first-in, first-out model, which relied too heavily on the hypothesis of freshness. FreshCloud takes the guesswork out of the process by introducing quality control at the per-unit level.”
Columbia Reach Pack based in Yakima, Wash., packs about 170,000 bins of apples, which in a typical year would convert to more than 3 million cartons of apples. The apples are marketed by Oneonta and distributed worldwide.
Founded in 1992, the company has been utilizing the AgroFresh platform for two years to assess the quality of its apple stock.
“It is another tool we can use to assess fruit maturity to make sure we can deliver the best quality product to the market,” says Bruce Allen, president of Columbia Reach Pack. “It provides us with a way of nondestructively evaluating the advancement of fruit maturity from when it is harvested and placed in storage until it is selected for packing.”
Columbia Reach chose the AgroFresh solution based on the company’s reputation.
“AgroFresh has been a great partner to work with. They have a track record of bringing innovative products to market and working hard to make sure the companies using these products fully understand how to best use each product,” says Allen.
Gomez says he thinks predictive produce quality will become the new norm for produce growers, packers and shippers.
“Much of the fresh produce that goes to waste is lost before it even reaches consumers. Technology for predictive produce quality, such as FreshCloud, helps minimize food waste and maximize the amount of fresh produce that reaches consumers,” he says. “We see a world where growers, packers and shippers won't know what they did before—or without—FreshCloud.”