The Packer’s Tom Karst visited July 28 with Ann Beaulieu, vice president and director of research & development and regulatory affairs at AgroFresh and Fernando Edagi, commercial technical manager for the company.
In addition to discussing business adjustments made necessary because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Beaulieu and Edagi talked about the scope of what AgroFresh offers in the company’s shelf-life extending SmartFresh technology.
"We began with apples, but today SmartFresh is available with a large number of crops, and it is available around the world,” Beaulieu said.
Although video calls have become much more common now with customers during the COVID-19 crisis, Edagi said close relationships with customers are critical to understand their supply chain challenges - challenges that in some cases didn’t exist a year ago.
Food preservation has been a focus of many produce operators during the pandemic, Beaulieu said. “That (attribute) is being valued fairly highly,” she said.
Edagi also discussed the company’s Harvista near-harvest technology, which he said is designed to give growers more control over how and when their fruit ripens. In addition, he said the company offers FreshCloud Harvest View, a digital service that works in tandem with AgroFresh’s Harvista technology.
Harvest View uploads a visual indication of starch levels in fruit to the computing cloud, allowing managers to make more informed decisions on when to pick fruit, Edagi said.
“Every year, it’s a little bit different, because the weather’s not exactly the same,” he said. “We are always working really close to our customers to deliver the best solution possible for them to be successful.”