U.S.-headquartered AgroFresh (NASDAQ: AGFS) has launched a new technology called Predictive Screening which it says can predict the risk of disorder development in produce.
Predictive Screening analyses the gene expression of fruit at harvest, helping growers to make more informed storage decisions.
The technology was launched last year as part of AgroFresh’s FreshCloud platform, which monitors produce quality through the supply chain and also includes Storage Insights and Transit Insights.
“Knowing what is happening to your fruit while it is in storage is incredibly helpful and can save potentially millions of dollars, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to know what is going to happen with that fruit before you even put it into storage?” said Adam Kinsey, IoT solutions global business lead at AgroFresh.
Predictive Screening determines whether a particular harvest is low, moderate or high risk for the development of a specific disorder. This helps growers and packers to reduce losses in high risk fruits and provides added confidence that low risk fruits will meet quality standards.
“So before you even take this fruit and place it into a room, we can analyze its genome and see whether that fruit has a predilection to potentially develop a disorder that may change how you choose to handle that fruit. That’s an incredibly powerful new product that we are excited about,” he said.
He explained, the technology could be used, for example, to see in advance whether Honeycrisp apples are likely to develop Soft Scald, which causes substantial losses.
“Today our focus is exclusively on apples … but you can trust that it doesn’t end there. These innovations can be applied to many different products as well,” he said.
Predictive Screening complements AgroFresh’s other freshness solution technologies Storage Insights and Transit Insights, which use proprietary sensor technology and analytics to provide visibility and data about the health of produce along the supply chain.
By monitoring variables such as ambient temperature, pulp temperature, and relatively humidity, the company can provide the owner with information of individual pallets before they reach their final destination.
“We want to give insights to allow all of the players in the supply chain to optimize their decisions,” Kinsey said.
He added that the industry has known for a long time about the problems related to ensuring freshness along the supply chain, but until recently it has been very hard to solve them.
“They want a solution – no one wants to experience rejections. The challenge has been that the technology has not existed to make it feasible to solve them,” he said.
“20 years ago we had millions of pallets in motion and in order to manage them properly we needed to be able to receive data from each pallet, which was not possible. Now there are answers to that problem, there is a whole selection of technology that’s available to make that possible.”