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Presentation on theme: "Arctic® Apples OKANAGAN SPECIALTY FRUITS"— Presentation transcript:

Why create a nonbrowning apple? OKANAGAN SPECIALTY FRUITS

2 Who is Okanagan Specialty Fruits? Small, grower-led BC company
Founded in 1996 by apple and cherry growers Neal and Louisa Carter Many shareholders are from the tree fruit industry Okanagan-based company with just seven employees To highlight: -We are small, local and grower-led (7 employees!) -Many people have conception based on large corporations or taking over the food supply -We place a major emphasis on transparency and open communications -Own background: Grew up in Summerland working with apples & cherries, passion for fruit & area Neal: Neal is truly an expert on apples, orchardist for nearly 20 years Neal’s a grower first and foremost Not your typical CEO! Hands-on, hardworking Truly cares about agriculture and feeding the planet: Neal is also a bioresource engineer who has worked on agriculture projects in over 50 countries, most in 3rd world addressing food security -Through this experience in food insecure nations, was persuaded of value of ag-biotech -Encourage audience to check out his TEDx Talk “Biotech and the Hungry Planet”

3 What is an Arctic® apple? The first nonbrowning apple
OSF’s flagship project Slices, bruises and juice will not turn brown To highlight -We were founded in 1996 and this is our first product -Gives an idea how long it takes, how rigorous the process is (especially for small company) -Yes, there are low-browning varieties, but they aren’t the same -Most low-browning varieties are low browning due to lower phenolic levels, have less taste/nutrition -The ability to make any variety nonbrowning is unique -We’ve started with nonbrowning Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden, Gala and Fuji

4 What is an Arctic® apple? Just like any apple tree
To highlight: -Not injecting apples are anything like that -Respond the pests, weather, agronomic inputs just the same -10 years of field trial experience, multiple trials (WA & NY) -Assessments including 163 page petition, and APHIS’ 100pgs+ in EA & PPRA demonstrate this Arctic apple trees behave in the orchard just as conventional trees do – until the fruit is bruised, bitten or cut...

5 Why develop nonbrowning apples? Increase apple consumption
To highlight: -Fresh fruit consumption up, but apple consumption down -Trend has lasted 2+ decades! -New varieties like Honeycrisp, Jazz help, but not enough -Need new markets such as foodservice, and new products -Browning is the biggest barrier to both

6 Why develop nonbrowning apples? To create a consumption trigger
To highlight -U.S. carrot consumption went from 6.5 billion lbs to >14 after baby carrots introduced, now around 11 (double) -Research shows that one of the main consumer trends is demand for convenience -Apples are #1 most desired packaged produce item -Only 1.7% of apples sold as freshcut currently

7 How’d we do that? Relatively simple science
In science terms, we have induced RNAi gene silencing targeting the inhibition of apple’s PPO genes In non-science terms: we’ve replaced one piece of railway track of a coast-to-coast railway with a slightly different piece of track To highlight: -We use apples own genes, the transformation process is assisted by commonly used naturally-occurring genetic tools -For technical detail, everything is available online through our website -We have simply turned off (silenced) native genes; no foreign proteins are introduced or produced in Arctic fruit

8 Industry & consumer surveys Industry interest survey (2007)
Survey of 40 industry leaders: Generally very positive response Freshcut potential strongly recognized Questions re: consumer perception of GE foods To Highlight: -The industry is not against us as many would have you believe -As is the case with consumers, there is a very vocal minority who want nothing to do with GMO -Nobody wants to stick their necks out to face the wrath of this minority -Industry concerns have nothing to do with Arctic apples themselves, just consumer backlash Q: Is OSF’s nonbrowning apple of interest to your company?

9 Benefits of Arctic® apples Benefits all along the Value Chain
IMPROVE QUALITY & REDUCE WASTE INCREASE GROWER RETURN 5 2 4 3 1 To Highlight: Benefits to EVERYONE along the supply chain At every point, reduces food waste and boosts production/quality ULTIMATE CONVENIENCE DECREASE SHRINK & INCREASE EYE APPEAL NEW PRODUCT EXCITEMENT

10 Benefits of Arctic® apples Contributing to sustainability
Up to 50% of apples produced are wasted! 2nd most wasted produce item after bagged salad Arctic apples help show fruit’s true quality Future benefits planned include pest resistance, which can reduce pesticide usage! To Highlight: -Huge number of apples wasted, Tesco found at least 40% of apples wasted in study released Oct 2013 -Much of this is superficial damage, large percentage is consumer waste (at home, in schools) -Also means water, time other inputs wasted -More than ¼ of all water used globally spent producing food that goes uneaten -Arctic apples reduce enzymatic browning, but will still show discolouration from fungal/bacterial infection -Will not mislead consumers (botox apple) – helps them! Will still rot and decompose just the same! -Arctic apples just one of many biotech crops that can reduce waste -So much potential for more benefits, including apples, but wanted to start with direct consumer benefit -Could have easily done pest resistance, snuck under radar more, but not our MO -Future Arctic+ could have lower environmental impact (pesticides), less food waste, greater convenience for consumers and reduce chemical residues – if that’s not sustainable I don’t know what is!

11 Benefits of Arctic® apples Boosting apple consumption
Lower production costs of freshcut apples Higher quality with more flavour, less treatment Increase use of apples in foodservice More apples in more places To Highlight: -Cheaper, higher-quality apples in more places means more apple consumption from consumers -Freshcut is a main one, but also nonbrowning juices (e.g. Nonbrowning Gala juice) & other products -Reduced need for treatments, reduced costs -New products in new markets can boost consumption -more consumption equals healthier consumers, better returns for growers, etc. -Examples of nonbrowning value: lunchboxes, salads, fruit/veggie trays

12 Benefits of Arctic® apples Freshcut consumption trigger
To Highlight: -We surveyed 1,000 apple eaters and educated them about Arctic apples -We then asked if they’d prefer to purchase GM apple slices that didn’t use chemicals or treatments to stop browning... -Over 2/3rds would be more likely! …Over two-thirds agreed they’d be more likely to purchase untreated apple slices

13 Benefits of Arctic® apples Consumer benefits
To Highlight: -We also asked if they would be interested in purchasing a genetically engineered nonbrowning apple -The majority were interested, and after a few key points about the science behind them that number further increased -After information, 3x as many consumers were somewhat/extremely likely to buy vs. those not likely/not at all likely -In person research really has a major impact (80%+ positive, esp parents) -GM sounds scary, but when you see it, it’s clear it’s just another apple & ALL want to taste them -We just concluded more mall intercept studies this month which has found same results Most consumers are interested in buying Arctic apples!

14 Arctic apple brand Labeling Policy
To Highlight: -Not a general GM label because no specific information provided that way -Huge amount of our efforts are on education/transparency -Ideally, will have educational materials with the fruit, other possibilities like QR codes We will be labeling all Arctic apples because we know consumers will want to find them!

15 Our path to market The regulatory process
To Highlight: -Stress how difficult and rigorous it is to get a biotech crop approved -The claim that they’re untested is incredibly far from the truth -300pgs on assessments, data collected on Arctic apples available online -Most of the testing performed and oversight of data collection was from 3rd parties -All available online for anybody to see, we also blog weekly and answer all Qs -Trying to use consumer friendly language for a complex subject -Industry has seen farmers as clients, so has not educated consumers, leading to mistrust -We’re trying to buck that trend, utilize SM, etc. -At the end of the day, the take-home point is that it’s just the same as any other apple!

16 For more information, contact:
Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. is a dynamic company dedicated to developing new commercial tree fruit varieties that are attractive to consumers and more profitable to producers and retailers. The company is operated and largely owned by tree fruit growers throughout British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. For more information, contact: and visit:

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