Apple shelf-life extension technology spans across companies of all sizes
Apples have been an anchor commodity for Hazel Technologies since the company launched in 2016. “Starting out in the apple category really made sense for us because we knew that growers trusted the basis of our product (1-MCP) and could easily understand how unique variation could benefit their operations,” says Joe Parker, Account Executive – Ag Tech with Hazel Technologies. As a result, Hazel Tech has been able to help growers maintain the postharvest quality of the fruit by reducing the incidence of scald, improving post-storage firmness, and retaining the color of apples.
The company’s work in the apple industry spans across all sizes of operations, from small family-run farms to some of the largest players. “This is because our suite of products for the apple category can meet the 1-MCP needs of any size grower,” Parker commented. 1-MCP is the main ingredient in Hazel’s flagship shelf-life extension product, Hazel 100™. This is one of two postharvest solutions the company offers the apple industry. The Hazel 100™ packet comes in two sizes: Hazel 100™ box packets and Hazel 100™ bin packets, allowing growers to effectively treat individual boxes or bins with 1-MCP, no matter what their infrastructure looks like. The only thing growers need to do is add the packet to the box or bin and send the fruit to storage.
Hazel’s second solution is Hazel CA™, which is a simplified, self-deployed alternative to the traditional controlled atmosphere 1-MCP fogging application. “Many of these applications require water to operate, but our self-application device only needs air to release 1-MCP throughout a storage room.” This allows growers to treat at anytime, anywhere, and empowers them to create their own specific treatment schedule.
“For apple growers across the United States our Hazel 100™ product is a simplification of a postharvest solution they already trust. Unlike traditional controlled atmosphere fogging treatments that require capital-intensive infrastructure (airtight CA rooms), our products can simply be dropped in a box.” In the past, small and medium-sized growers had to navigate a lot of barriers to use 1-MCP. “Our product gives growers of all sizes access to the same shelf-life extension product, providing them with the same quality benefits. In addition, it allows everyone to achieve the same results at a lower cost.”
While the true common denominator between Hazel 100 users is a constant motivation to better streamline their operations and improve quality, there are also benefits that vary between grower size:
- For small apple growers, the Hazel 100 packet is cost effective and requires no additional equipment.
- For medium size apple growers, the Hazel 100 solution avoids extra steps and hours required to make it work within their specific operation.
- For large apple growers, the product offers an opportunity to treat fruit immediately post-harvest instead of waiting until a CA room is full and ready for fumigation.
Simplicity of application, eliminating the need for fogging, and application immediately after harvest have resulted in Hazel Technologies now working with more than 250 apple customers in the US. Here is what some customers have to say:
“For all of the apples we pack, quality is an essential ingredient, so having a quality management tool like the Hazel sachets is excellent. It’s extraordinary to be able to respond to those kinds of events by placing them into the bins so close to harvest, whenever you need.” Ben Rice, President of Rice Fruit
“The Hazel Technologies bin sachet has been a game changer for us because it really works nicely into our process. 1-MCP is such an important part of the puzzle and getting the application on immediately simplifies everything. The fruit arrives, you put the sachet in the bin, and that’s your treatment right there. It goes on immediately. You can put the fruit wherever you want; doesn’t even have to go into a CA room or any environment that you have to seal.” Leighton Rice, Quality Manager of Rice Fruit
“It may take us two to three days to fill a room; on that third day we have to fog. There’s three days of fruit before fogging goes into that room, waiting to get 1-MCP’d versus Hazel which is going to start immediately. That’s big for us because the fruit’s warm and we’re trying to super cool it down, but there’s nothing in there to help preserve the fruit. That was a big thing about Hazel for us.” Art Varela, Quality Control at River Valley Fruit.
In addition to serving apple customers in the US, Hazel Tech is in the process of getting registration for their apple shelf-life extension products in Chile.