Arctic® Apples: Good for the Retailer

We have recently explored the benefits Arctic® apples can offer to growers and packers – but what about retailers? Generating consumer excitement, reducing shrink and increasing eye-appeal are just a few of the things that will deliver value to the retailer. Consumers, now more than ever, are interested in nutrition and convenience – just what Arctic® apples provide! Shoppers will be attracted by this exciting new product because it offers them tangible benefits such as the ability to add apple slices to salads or kids’ lunches without the browning; giving them more of that fresh, tasty “first-bite” eating experience the whole way
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Arctic® Apples: Good for the Packer

Last week, we kicked off what will be a series of blog entries covering how nonbrowning Arctic® apples benefit each link along the supply chain. Our first entry focused on advantages for growers and apple packers will find that many of these same benefits apply to them too. As with the growers, packers will find that nonbrowning apples can reduce cullage and improve packout quality – primarily through decreased visibility of surface damage from bin rub and packing line bruising. Another key benefit for growers and packers is that Arctic® apples will be much better suited to less labor-intensive picking/packing techniques
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Arctic® Apples: Good for the Grower

One question we at Okanagan Specialty Fruits are frequently asked is why we chose to develop a nonbrowning apple rather than an apple with an agronomic benefit? There are many pests that growers would love to combat with biotechnology, such as fire blight and apple scab. As a grower-led company, we certainly sympathize with these challenges and it is important to us to provide value to our fellow growers, as well as to consumers. Though our core intent with the nonbrowning trait was to spur consumption by making apples more convenient for consumers, we knew they would also benefit the
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Agricultural biotechnology – transparency is essential!

With the benefits of crop biotechnology clearer than ever, it makes sense that media and public perception is increasingly positive. A recent article from the UK suggests the debate over biotech crops has “grown up” due to the willingness of scientists and biotech companies to be more open and transparent. Transparency is an important quality for companies that deal with such complex subject matter as biotechnology. We believe that it’s our job to share the ins and outs of our technology in a way that everyone can comprehend. Really, who better than those who understand the technology best – the companies
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Arctic®, conventional and organic apple trees can coexist (part 2)

Following up on our January blog, we would like to further address why Arctic®, conventional and organic trees can successfully coexist. As previously explained (see blog and FAQ), apple trees are propogated by grafting, not seed, are pollinated by bees, not wind, and don’t escape and grow in the wild. The risk of cross-pollination is minimal, and we further mitigate that risk with our strict stewardship standards (e.g., requirements for hive placement, buffer rows). And, in the unlikely event cross-pollination did occur, only traces of Arctic material would be present in some of the seeds. Consider the statement by Robert
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Lessons from the Rothamsted wheat trial

The recent coverage of the Rothamsted (London, England) wheat trials provides an excellent case study of how being open to real dialogue among supporters and detractors of biotechnology can result in a positive outcome. “Rothamsted is the longest running agricultural research station in the world, providing cutting-edge science and innovation for nearly 170 years” and their mission is “to deliver the knowledge and new practices to increase crop productivity and quality and to develop environmentally sustainable solutions for food and energy production.” Quite noble goals, yet Rothamsted was recently the site of one of the most public and inflammatory debates
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Consumers Should Get To Try The First Biotech Apples

Since the United States Department of Agriculture opened the 60-day public comment period on our petition for the deregulation of Arctic® Apples, there has been a huge amount of media attention. Many articles have been published over the past two weeks and we are pleased to share one of the most well-read, articulate ones so far. Dr. Steve Savage has over 30 years of experience in agricultural technology and wrote “Consumers Should Get To Try The First Biotech Apples”, which is posted on his site: Applied Mythology.   We encourage you to click here to view this article in full on
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Arctic® apples provide foodservice market opportunities

A recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service found that food prepared and consumed away from home “accounted for 42 percent of American household’s food budgets and 32 percent of calorie intake during 2005-08.” Convenience foods are more often associated with high-calorie snacks and fast food products than fruits and vegetables. However, as obesity rates continue to rise, this trend is changing. Healthy, ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables are a big part of the solution and foodservice applications for produce items such as avocadoes have proven incredibly successful. By “extending fresh…avocado awareness and generating new menu applications” national and regional promotions
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Exploring the marker gene used in Arctic® apples

As you can read about in our FAQ section, the process required to transform a conventional apple to an Arctic® variety necessitates the use of a marker gene that makes the plant tissue resistant to the antibiotic kanamycin. This process requires a doctorate in molecular biology to fully comprehend, so we turn to our head scientist John Armstrong, who just happens to have these credentials.  Should people worry that the insertion of our marker gene may add a new protein to Arctic® apples? The simple answer is no, as there are no proteins expressed in Arctic® apples that aren’t in conventional apples.
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Arctic® Apples: more apples for consumers, less for the garbage

Consumers prefer a “perfect apple” to a damaged one, and the apple industry is well aware of this. Even superficially bruised fruit is rarely bought, so much of the annually produced 200 million bushels of U.S. apples end up going to waste instead of being consumed. Superficial bruising is something that does not show on Arctic® Apples. This fruit truly has nothing wrong with it, other than visual appeal. Today, apples with even minor superficial bruising usually don’t make it through the supply chain. It’s been reported that “even under the best conditions, 10 percent or more of the crop
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