Shares of California-based Arcadia Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ:RKDA) jumped Thursday in pre-market trade after the agricultural food ingredient company and India’s Shriram Bioseed, a leading research and hybrid seed development company, announced the achievement of a key milestone in developing Extended Shelf Life (ESL) tomatoes.
Bioseed has field tested Arcadia’s ESL technology in multiple tomato hybrid backgrounds in different geographies and seasons. The companies said significant and “consistent improvements in field yield and fruit quality,” such as firmness, shelf life and color, were observed.
The new hybrids are in the pre-commercial, field testing stage with an anticipated launch in 2019.
Arcadia stock shot up 18.5% to US$8.15 in premarket trade.
“These new varieties will reduce waste and spoilage in the production cycle while ensuring that the produce is fully ripe, better tasting, and still fresh when it reaches consumers,” said Arcadia CEO Raj Ketkar. “This development is a significant commercial milestone in advancing Arcadia’s ESL tomato technology that adds value throughout the tomato supply chain, from farm to consumers.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in the US alone, food waste costs households an estimated US$166bn annually, and tomato food waste costs households US$2.3bn annually.
As the fourth-largest producer of tomatoes globally, India represents a significant market opportunity for ESL tomato technology.
“This trait is especially valuable in a country like India where fresh market tomatoes are mostly field grown and post-harvest handling and logistics are challenging,” said Paresh Verma, president of Bioseed Southeast Asia. “Besides reducing post-harvest losses, extended shelf life and improved field holding capacity of tomatoes will add tremendous value for farmers and other stakeholders in supply chain.”
Arcadia’s ESL technology was developed in part under a U.S. Department of Defense contract to develop longer-lasting fresh produce for field troops stationed in remote locations. Arcadia received a patent for the technology in 2014.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]