Agricultural food company Arcadia Biosciences (NASDAQ: RKDA) and seed development company Shriram Bioseed announced it achieved development in Extended Shelf Life (ESL) tomatoes. Bioseed field tested Arcadia’s ESL technology for several new tomato hybrids in various environments with different conditions and still found substantial improvements in field yield quality such as firmness, shelf life, and color development.
In order to achieve the ESL technology, Arcadia used a screening method called TILLING to identify genetic variations that allow tomatoes to fully ripen on the vine and remain durable enough during packing and shipping. President and Chief Executive Officer of Arcadia, Raj Ketkar, stated, “This development is a significant commercial milestone in advancing Arcadia’s ESL tomato technology that adds value throughout the tomato supply chain, from farm to consumers.”
More importantly, development in ESL tomatoes answers a large market opportunity globally. In the U.S., food waste cost households about USD 166 Billion annually and tomato food waste costs households USD 2.3 Billion annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In Asia, an estimated 20% to 35% of tomatoes are lost to post-harvest damage while India is the fourth largest producer of tomatoes in the world. President of Bioseed Southeast Asia and Research Director for Shriram Bioseed, Paresh Verma, recognizing this opportunity stated, “This trait is especially valuable in a country like India where fresh market tomatoes are mostly field grown and post-harvest handling and logistics are challenging. Besides reducing post-harvest losses, extended shelf life and improved field holding capacity of tomatoes will add tremendous value for farmers and other stakeholders in supply chain.”
Arcadia received a patent for the ESL technology, which was developed under the U.S. Department of Defense contract for longer-lasting food for troops in remote locations, in 2014. The new hybrids are expected to release in 2019. Shares of Arcadia Bioscences were up 22% premarket.