Verdant Technologies' Gordon Robertson Discusses HarvestHold™ Technology and Supply Chain Growth
WHITE BEAR LAKE, MN - These days, three of the most important aspects of produce shelf-life extension solutions include sustainability, preservation of quality, and ease of implementation. Verdant Technologies’ HarvestHold™ solution hits all of these requirements and more, and was recently launched in the United States. I had the opportunity to interview CEO Gordon Robertson, who told me why these qualities are what set the solution apart.
“HarvestHold’s 1-MCP technology demonstrates efficacy in many different produce categories, but it's our delivery system and ease of application that are key differentiators,” he explained. “Historically, produce has been treated with 1-MCP at the facility level. With our technology and delivery system, we're able to treat product at the box level by simply inserting a sheet of HarvestHold into packaging. This is huge for customers who need a flexible solution. They can apply in the field, the packing house, or at any other point along the supply chain.”
Once the sheet is in a box of produce, the technology is activated by natural plant respiration and requires no catalysts. 1-MCP works to block ethylene receptors at the plant cellular level, which slows the ripening process.
“1-MCP isn’t new technology—it’s been used for decades and proven to reduce shrink in the supply chain. But HarvestHold’s innovative 1-MCP delivery system delivers a slow release of 1-MCP. This provides more constant protection as produce moves through the supply chain,” said Gordon. “We help deliver a healthier piece of produce that benefits the entire supply chain, and ultimately the planet and its people.”
At the heart of everything Verdant does is the notion of simplicity. Through this approach, the company designs products with customers in mind, offering solutions that are simple in application, and inject flexibility and value into their operations.
“Reducing shrink is a big factor, but there are other things we contribute to when HarvestHold preserves freshness. We are able to take other key inputs out of the system, such as the utilization of ice and water. Broccoli growers can ship product with reduced (or no) ice—majorly improving sustainability in their transportation system. Our technology could also allow operators to run trucks at a different point of refrigeration, creating a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” Gordon said. “We have evaluated all of the inputs that take a piece of produce from the field to the shelf, and our technology has the ability to impact many of them.”
This reliability, consistency, and portability are essential to Verdant’s value proposition, as a lower level of complexity inherently means lower costs. The technology makes a solution possible for many different categories that have few if any shelf-life extenders available to them.
“Refrigeration has taken us a long way, but it’s not a viable solution to solve all the supply chain challenges that exist today. We need technology to move us forward,” Gordon relayed. “At the end of the day, our belief is we’re not here simply to feed people. We have to nourish the world by creating smart, sustainable solutions to improve the quality and reach of our fresh food supply.”
On a final note, Gordon explained that the acquisition of Verdant by Gulftech this past June opened the door for the company to accelerate its work from a staffing and resource perspective. Gulftech has a significant presence in the produce industry, and its operating platforms provide opportunities to expand into the global market at an accelerated rate.
Extended shelf-life is the way of the future, so keep reading ANUK as we uncover the latest innovations in fresh produce.