Putting the tech in biotech

By now you may be quite familiar with the nonbrowning trait in Arctic® apples, and hopefully have had the chance to taste the orchard-freshness of our apples for yourself. The biotechnology behind our apples benefits the entire supply chain and helps ensure fewer apples are wasted and more apples get tasted. What you may not realize, however, is the technology that goes into growing Arctic apples. Okanagan Specialty Fruits® is a vertically integrated company. As proud as we are of the science behind our apples, we are equally proud of our state-of-the-art orchards and the care that goes into growing
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5 Ways Biotech Can Help Our Food Future

Our climate is changing, our world is more populated every year, and there’s growing talk of global food insecurity. With science technology, it seems anything and everything is possible. Even for our food future? Maybe biotech foods can help. Changing Climate = pests, disease, weather A changing climate brings new challenges to farmers. Where biotech works is through breeding a better potato that’s resistant to blight in Ireland, corn that can better withstand water shortages, or growing drought resistant soybeans that get genetic help from drought-friendly sunflowers. Deep Dive: a multi-scientist authored paper on Genetically Modified Food: Its uses, Future
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We’re Hiring: Plant Transformation and Regeneration Technician

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. is seeking a motivated Transformation and Regeneration Technician to join our Transformation and Cultivar Development Group in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Under the direct supervision of the Laboratory Manager and in coordination with other technicians, the successful candidate will be primarily involved in the development and optimization of transformation and regeneration protocols. These protocols will be used in the creation of transgenic lines of both currently used and future tree fruit varieties. The candidate will also work in conjunction with other laboratory staff and research scientists to drive projects forward to positive conclusions in a streamlined fashion. Deadline
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An Arctic®Hat Trick: golden, granny, and FUJI

Just recently we received approval from Canadian government regulatory authorities for another apple variety: the Arctic® Fuji. This means we now have three apples in the Arctic® family – which in hockey terms would be a hat trick. (we had to say it) With our fall 2017 inaugural launch of Arctic® Golden packaged slices in a handful of US locations we saw good response to our fresh packaged fruit. And since our Arctic® Fuji already has USDA approval, we thought it time to review how and when which Arctic® apple varieties will get from our house to yours. Because this
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The Cellular Kitchen: science and sustainable food

Over the last two decades technology has advanced at a brisk pace. But tech is not the only place of rapid growth and development. Together, science and tech have a significant role in changing conversations around food and sustainability. We talked earlier about what it means to be sustainable. Aside from having recycling bins and a garden compost, sustainability for us includes looking for ways to mindfully grow the food supply while reducing food waste. Innovating. This is where science comes in. As an orchardist and bioresource engineer, Neal’s natural place to start was with apples. Arctic® apples answered a
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2018: To a Sustainable and Healthy Planet

The start of a new year can bring with it a refocus on goals and a revisit of what’s important. Here at Okanagan Specialty Fruits Ltd. (OSF), one of our guiding principles is keeping true to our roots as we grow sustainable new ways of reducing food waste. What does being sustainable look like? From orchard irrigation to packaging choices, our commitment to a healthy earth is in every aspect of our work – starting with a simple apple. Nonbrowning Arctic® apples When Neal and Louisa began OSF in 1996, they started looking beyond the orchard and down the food
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Education Collaboration Benefits Produce Industry & Consumers

In the produce industry, as with nearly any industry, differentiating your company’s brand and products is a major key for success. The produce industry is perhaps a little behind the curve on this, since fruits and vegetables have historically been sold with very little packaging, and therefore few branding/differentiation opportunities were possible. That has now changed, and there are some growing pains that the industry must address for the sake of consumers, and our industry as a whole. Consumers have become more interested in their food and how it’s produced than ever before, and are also searching for healthy, convenient
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Arctic® Goldens feature SmartLabel™ QR code

One of the most difficult decisions our team at Okanagan Specialty Fruits™ has had to make when introducing Arctic® apples into the market has been “how can we best communicate with consumers about the science and benefits behind our nonbrowning apples?” Do we include a generic GMO label? Do we try to squeeze a few sentences about our biotech approach on the packaging? Something else? There is no clear-cut answer, especially since consumers will differ in how they prefer to learn about the foods they buy. However, there are a few considerations that we felt were important in evaluating our
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Marketing benefits, not buzzwords!

Marketing in the produce industry presents an interesting challenge – how does a company or brand distinguish itself when products often are so similar? There are countless answers: packaging, advertising, telling the story behind the product, differentiated sensory experiences, and many more. All these strategies can lead to success, and create friendly competition under shared goals of boosting produce consumption and supporting healthy, sustainable eating practices. On the other hand, a frustratingly common method that does not support these shared goals is fear-based marketing. This approach does no favors to consumers or fellow produce industry members and can end up
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GMO Communication (Part 2): A ripe educational opportunity

Last week I shared some of the personal experiences that have shaped my understanding of GMO perceptions. This week, I will be talking about the importance of biotech champions, and some of the most important lessons we’ve learned for effectively sharing information on GMOs in a way that resonates with a wide, diverse audience. Bridging the communications gap In January 2015 Pew Research found that 88% of scientists from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) say GE foods are generally safe, but 57% of U.S. adults aren’t so sure. Months earlier, the International Food Information Council (IFIC)
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