AgroFresh eyes global RipeLock expansion through Del Monte alliance

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AgroFresh eyes global RipeLock expansion through Del Monte alliance

Having recently struck a deal with Del Monte to bring its banana technology RipeLock to more retailers across North America, Philadelphia-based AgroFresh Solutions (NASDAQ) is aiming to expand the freshness solution to other markets around the world. 

RipeLock is two-piece packaging system that offers benefits to all parties along the supply chain as well as the end consumer.

By using a combination of its SmartFresh technology - which involves an ethylene-controlling active ingredient - and a Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) bag, AgroFresh says it can double the fruit's 'yellow life', reduce weight loss and boost retail sales.

Speaking to Fresh Fruit Portal, the company's retail solutions global director Narciso Vivot said the deal with Del Monte, which was announced in late-June, is the first collaborative agreement AgroFresh had established for the technology.

"The main purpose of the deal is to collaborate with each other - for us to help them grow their banana business and for them to help us grow RipeLock's position in the market," he said.

The deal with Del Monte is non-exclusive, and AgroFresh is aiming to reach more deals with more companies to extend the technology's reach.

"We believe that this technology should be available to everybody," he said.

AgroFresh has already shipped MAP bags to the tropical regions where Del Monte's bananas are grown, and Vivot said the produce company has used the technology with a few customers to see how it performed. 

While the deal is currently focused on North America, he explained that it was by no means limited to that region.

"It’s a deal that we’re going to keep expanding to other regions like Europe and Asia, and at some point we’ll have discussions to talk about other commodities and how other AgroFresh technologies can help Del Monte to also grow and to maintain shelf life," he said, highlighting AgroFresh's commitment to preventing food waste and preserving resources.

How RipeLock works

Bananas are sealed in the MAP bags at the packing plant, which maintains the moisture levels as they then move through the supply chain to ripening center. Once the fruit reaches stage 3 - 3.5 on the banana ripeness scale the ethylene-controlling active ingredient is applied, slowing down the ripening process and thereby extending the fruit's yellow life. 

Vivot said while untreated bananas would typically stay and the full yellow color of around 5.5 - 6 for just a couple of days before they start developing brown spots and turn overripe, with RipeLock the bananas remain in their appealing yellow state for four to six days.

He also explained that the technology allowed companies to better manage their inventories at the warehouse level, while in stores retailers could save on labor as RipeLock bananas did not need to be air stacked, in contrast to normal bananas. 

RipeLock bananas four days after delivery. Photo: AgroFresh

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