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Landec expands commercial applications of BreatheWay produce packaging

Published 27 February 2014

Landec Corporation, a materials science company that develops and markets innovative and patented products for healthy living applications in food and biomedical markets, is expanding commercial applications for its patented BreatheWay® technology packaging solutions.

Landec's BreatheWay technology naturally extends the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables by optimizing the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen within the packaging. Expanding commercial applications using BreatheWay technology include:

  • Chiquita Brands International, Inc. - continuing orders for BreatheWay membranes for its Chiquita-To-Go® banana program.
  • Windset Farms® - new packaging using BreatheWay technology to extend freshness for its Fresco® cocktail cucumbers and for its line of sweet and hot peppers.
  • Agroexport, LLC - new packaging featuring BreatheWay technology for the new commercial offering of its Villita Slice-n-Serve™ avocado product.

"Apio, Inc., Landec's food technology business, is beginning to benefit from its research and development efforts to expand the use of BreatheWay technology into new commercial applications beyond those for Apio's own fresh-cut vegetable and salad products," commented Molly Hemmeter, Landec's COO. "Apio currently uses internally over 100 million BreatheWay membranes per year for its specialty packaged bag and tray vegetable products shipped throughout North America. The initial volume of BreatheWay membranes for the new applications for Windset Farms and Agroexport will be small in fiscal 2014 as these new commercial applications gain traction. However, we expect that when combined with the on-going business from Chiquita, the gross profit contributions from BreatheWay membrane sales will become meaningful in future years."

Chiquita has used BreatheWay packaging technology for extending the shelf-life of bananas since 2005. Its Chiquita-To-Go banana program relies on BreatheWay technology to deliver attractive ready-to-eat yellow bananas to coffee chains, convenience stores and mini-mart gas stations, businesses that in the past were reluctant to sell bananas due to their very short shelf life. The Chiquita-To-Go program delivers ready-to-eat bananas across the U.S., including to most Starbucks, as well as in Canada and several European countries. Apio continues to ship membranes to Chiquita for its Chiquita-To-Go banana program.

Windset Farms, a leading greenhouse grower of hydroponic vegetables, has launched new packaging using BreatheWay technology for its Fresco cocktail cucumbers and for its line of sweet and hot peppers which are available at leading grocery outlets such as Costco and Target. Windset Farms, a customer and strategic partner in which Landec has a 20% ownership interest, has been working closely with Apio for several years to design and optimize packaging solutions using the BreatheWay technology to extend the shelf-life of Windset cucumbers and peppers by a week or longer.

According to John Newell, COO of Windset Farms, "Because BreatheWay technology provides significant shelf-life extension, we are able to decrease product waste throughout the supply chain and deliver a higher quality product experience to consumers. We are also able to reach customers in more distant locations, even overseas. Based on our exclusive license for the use of BreatheWay packaging technology for greenhouse grown cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, we plan to release more items featuring this technology in the near future."

Agroexport grows, markets and sells high quality Hass avocados from Mexico, California and Peru and ships them all over the world under its Villita Brand. Agroexport has recently introduced its Villita brand Slice 'n Serve avocados as its first commercial offering of avocado products featuring BreatheWay packaging technology. Traditionally, fully ripe avocados have a very limited shelf life of only 3-5 days. The BreatheWay innovative packaging technology allows the Slice 'n Serve avocados to last up to 14 days in a ripe and ready-to-eat state. This dramatic increase in shelf life allows Agroexport to pack and ship avocados at the ideal eating stage that can be delivered to their retail and foodservice customers while reducing losses from over-ripe avocados.

Jimmy Lotufo, Agroexport Director of Business Development stated, "We have garnered significant interest from the trade and anticipate consumers will quickly learn to look for a Slice 'n Serve avocado in the marketplace as the ideal product for on-trend uses of avocados."

Apio is actively working on new commercial applications for its BreatheWay technology, including applications for fresh-cut vegetables and fruit in consumer, bulk and cargo vessel formats and for Apio's GreenLine branded fresh-cut green beans.

"BreatheWay packaging is one of Landec's several commercial applications that utilizes its proprietary Intelimer® polymers. The BreatheWay membrane can control the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen inside a sealed package of produce and maintain the ideal atmosphere during distribution even as temperatures change during transport," continued Hemmeter. "Apio started using the BreatheWay patented technology to extend the shelf-life of its fresh-cut vegetable products in 1996. BreatheWay has helped Apio become the leader in fresh-cut specialty packaged vegetables sold in North America. Last year, Apio used more than 100 million BreatheWay membranes to improve the shipping capabilities and shelf-life of its specialty packaged bag and tray vegetable products. Under its major national brands, Eat Smart® and GreenLine®, Apio delivers unmatched product quality and value to club stores, grocery chains, food service providers and consumers."



Source: Company Press Release