AgroFresh Solutions' Brittany Buchanan Discusses FreshCloud™ Platform
- by Anne Allen
PHILADELPHIA, PA - Across the industry, the importance of food waste continues to spur innovative companies to bring new solutions to the table. AgroFresh Solutions is one such company working to improve the supply chain. The company’s FreshCloud™ solutions platform ensures that the value of high-value apple crops are protected. How? I spoke to Brittany Buchanan, FreshCloud Global Business Lead, to find out.
Within the FreshCloud platform, there are three offerings: Predictive Screening, Storage Insights, and Transit Insights. All play a vital role in predicting the quality of an apple post-harvest.
“What we do with our Predictive Screening is at the time of harvest, or within a few days of harvest, we inform a grower, packer, shipper, or marketer, about the disorder risk likelihood for their particular crop,” Brittany began. “Using 40 apples that are representative of a particular block and a particular harvest, we take the juice extract from that sample in a buffer solution that gets stabilized on an RNA card. We’re then using high-tech laboratory equipment to identify whether or not there’s specific biomarkers present that are indicative of a specific disorder.
Storage Insights—the next offering in the platform—has the potential to deeply impact the way apples are stored in the future, and how the industry thinks about storage in general.
“There’s nothing else like it in the market or within this industry,” Brittany explained. “We’re looking at metabolic volatile organic compounds, also known as mVOC’s, in the storage rooms. Apples are stored for long periods of time often in a controlled atmosphere. For many of our customers, they want to know which store room they should use first. By pulling air samples and looking at what volatiles are present, we can see if the health of the fruit is changing. Decay disorders and some other storage problems have various volatile compounds associated with them. So, we are essentially smelling the health of the fruit behind closed doors.”
The third FreshCloud offering is called Transit Insights, which monitors temperature along the supply chain at very granular levels.
“We’re trying to use IoT sensors as well as quality metrics in a digital platform, so that the supply chain can move away from first-in-first-out inventory management, to first-expiring-first-out inventory management,” Brittany remarked.
It takes time to identify biomarkers, and AgroFresh is diligently working to expand this technology into other categories. Currently, FreshCloud Predictive Screening can be applied to commercial Honeycrisp apples. FreshCloud Storage Insights is available for most apple and pear varieties and FreshCloud Transit Insights can be used to monitor temperature and fruit quality for any produce.
As our conversation steers from the details of the offerings, I ask Brittany about specific pain points that retailers, growers, and shippers, have mentioned that helped drive AgroFresh into delivering this tech.
“These solutions are really about risk management and prioritization. We’re trying to maximize the revenue potential and distribution plan for the highest-quality fruit. And we’re trying to minimize losses for areas of concern. Data is becoming an increasingly important competitive advantage. So, those that choose to invest in innovations and insights such as FreshCloud will better learn how to optimize what they’re selling or what they’re buying.”
Intrigued? AgroFresh will be at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit, so stop by booth #3290 to see how these solutions can benefit you.