AgroFresh Solutions, Inc., a produce freshness solutions provider, and family-owned grower and shipper Fisher Ranch recently partnered to deliver ready-to-eat, ripe melons from California to global markets using SmartFresh technology.
“Within the industry, we’ve noticed a shift to long shelf-life (LSL) melon varieties that lack consumer-preferred quality, flavor and texture,” says Mike Farrage, sales manager at Fisher Ranch. “However, with the use SmartFresh, we’re able to enjoy the same shelf-life benefits offered by LSL varieties but with enhanced characteristics such as aroma, flavor, firmness and texture that consumers prefer.”
SmartFresh technology allows fruit to hold the quality for a much longer period, giving a bigger window for retailers to sell and customers to experience the desired taste-profile. SmartTabs is a technology that helps to preserve quality and freshness in transit. The post-harvest solution enables melons to ripen on the vine, which allows the fruit to retain firmness and sugar content despite longer transit times.
“AgroFresh’s post-harvest SmartFresh technology delays the ripening process to protect just-picked freshness and quality for consumers. The technology supports post-harvest ripening and conditioning protocols in various supply chain stages, while extending the storage window to improve inventory flexibility,” says Fernando Edagi, commercial development manager at AgroFresh, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa.
AgroFresh worked closely with Fisher Ranch and built tailored freshness solutions to help meet their goals. The company worked with Fisher Ranch to determine how they could best use the SmartFresh technology to extend retail shelf-life while maintaining characteristics such as aroma, flavor, firmness and texture for cantaloupes and honeydew melons. SmartFresh has also been proven to help control skin disorders on melons for 26 days in cold storage.
“Our partnership with Fisher Ranch came about as the grower-shipper came to AgroFresh with specific challenges pertaining to shipping quality melons to distant markets,” says Edagi. “Our team of experts worked closely with Fisher Ranch to build tailor-made solutions, coupled with technical service and expertise, to ensure the delivery of high quality and great-tasting melons to distant markets by applying our SmartFresh SmartTabs technology. Our close collaboration resulted in excellent freshness results that opened new business opportunities in global geographies, which was a great achievement for them.”
Based in Blythe, Calif., Fisher Ranch approached AgroFresh to help it grow the business, particularly for shipping melons to global markets while retaining excellent quality.
“AgroFresh partnered with us and together we completed successful trials on melons. From there, we moved to the commercialization stage. We’ve been impressed with AgroFresh’s willingness to work with us and identify custom solutions for our business,” says Farrage.
Sharing its challenges, Fisher Ranch collaborated with AgroFresh to come up with a solution, which was to utilize the SmartFresh technology.
“AgroFresh’s SmartFresh technology is a great fit for our business needs both domestically and for our export markets. To build on that success, we are now talking with them about how we can take advantage of other solutions in their portfolio,” says Farrage.
According to Edagi, sustainability is a business practice that underscores everything AgroFresh does.
“We strive daily to combine deep scientific knowledge with applied industry know-how to extend shelf-life of the best-tasting produce, reduce food waste and conserve our planet’s resources,” he says. “SmartFresh has a direct impact on decreasing food waste and preserving the earth’s resources.”
The AgroFresh technology solutions reduce an estimated 10,000 metric tons of food waste per day.
“Using SmartFresh has made us much more efficient with our customers. There’s no need to repack or make price adjustments, and we don’t have customer rejections,” says Farrage.