Fresno, Calif.-based DFI Marketing Inc. is using a new shelf-life extension technology for its melon exports to Asia.
 
The firm, with thousands of melon acres under management, said in a news release that it will use Hazel Melon by Chicago-based Hazel Technologies on all of its melon export containers to Asia this season.
 
Hazel Melon is a packaging insert, according to a news release.
 
After promising pilot trail results in 2016, Hazel Technology was funded by a $100,000 grant from the USDA Small Business Innovation Research program, according to the release.
 
“After testing the Hazel Melon packets in our containers, we saw up to a 49% increase in marketable product after 30 days, a potential savings of as much as $10,000 per load,” Ross Van Vlack, vice president of sales and marketing for DFI Marketing Inc., said in the release.
 
The Hazel Melon packets are simply placed in cartons and require “no equipment, no water, no packing house changes,” Van Vlack said in the release. “We haven’t seen something that works this well in our many years in the melon industry.” 
 
Hazel Melon will be used at DFI for honeydew, cantaloupe, and mixed melons exports, according to the release. Hazel Technologies, according to the release, is working with growers in other fresh categories.
 
Patrick Flynn, co-founder of Hazel Technologies Inc., said June 8 the technology is a little different than the more common ethylene blocker shippers are used to seeing.  
 
“A key difference between the (ethylene filter) and the technology we are working on is that we are actually releasing active ingredients into carton,” he said.
 
He described the technology as proactive compared to the reactive ethylene filter technology. 
 
“What we are doing is going out to get the ethylene as opposed  to waiting for it,” he said. 
 
The technology improves shelf life and the uniformity of treatment in different parts of the carton, Flynn said.
 
“That’s really important when you are talking about export arrivals because you want everything to arrive in uniform condition,” he said. 
 
The technology uses active ingredient 1-MCP, which is used extensively in the storage of apples and pears.
 
“We are releasing it in a completely new way, over a long period of time,” he said.
 
The release of the active ingredient, over a period of up to three weeks with a much lower concentration than the one-time apple/pear type treatment, effectively treats commodities like melons and other commodities like avocados effectively, he said.