Originally printed in the May 2022 issue of Produce Business.
A new tomato variety by Granada La Palma from Spain won this year’s FRUIT LOGISTICA Innovation Award (FLIA), presented at FRUIT LOGISTICA, which was held April 5-7 in Berlin, Germany. The award honors outstanding innovations in the entire fruit and vegetable supply chain, from production to the point of sale, and spotlights fresh products, services, technology and technical systems.
Over two days, the trade visitors at FRUIT LOGISTICA cast ballots for their pick to win the coveted international award. Gaining around two-thirds of the votes cast, the Amela tomato was the clear winner of the competition for the best innovation in the international fruit trade.
The Amela tomato impresses with an intense aroma, a high Brix value and many nutrients and amino acids. The know-how for growing this plant, which tastes almost as sweet as a fruit, comes from two cultures. The idea originally came from Japan in 1996, and the variety is currently being cultivated in southern Spain using traditional methods.
“For a Spanish cooperative like La Palma, this recognition, having had 90 nominations and having competed with multinational companies, means a lot, especially, because the tomato situation is complicated worldwide,” says Pedro Ruiz, president, Granada La Palma. “It is a great honor to receive such an important recognition.”
“But it is not only about Amela,” he adds. “This prize will also bring recognition to the tomato as a whole, which always had a high value in Europe as a product that exists in every household.”
Drone Harvester Also Lauded
The silver FLIA went to Tevel Advanced Technologies from Israel for its flying autonomous robot, whose ability in flight to pinpoint individual berries from an optimum position and angle is controlled by AI algorithms and computer vision.
The bronze FLIA went to the winners of the 2020 competition, Syngenta Seeds from the Netherlands.
A jury of experts from all areas of the value chain identified finalists from among the innovative products, services or technical solutions introduced in the market last year. In addition to the winner, the finalists for the innovation award included:
Amoresco, HM.CLAUSE SAS, France. A unique beta-carotene rich, orange-colored Romanesco cauliflower with attractive shape, sweetness and flavor. It retains its color even after cooking, and is available fresh from November to February, and it is also excellent for the frozen food market.
Flying Autonomous Robots (FARs), Tevel Advanced Technologies Ltd, Israel. Flying autonomous robots, with full six degrees of freedom of orientation, can harvest many different fruits, thus reducing the need for manual picking. The robots’ ability to approach each fruit from an optimal position and angle is based on deep artificial intelligence and computer vision. These guarantee harvesting at an optimal stage of ripeness.
Genap Energy Cover, Genap B.V., Netherlands. The Genap Energy Cover is a unique combination of technologies. It forms a floating cover for irrigation basins, offering protection against the formation of algae, and integrated solar panels also generate energy in an environmentally friendly way.
iStem, Syngenta Seeds BV, Netherlands. This unique variety of stem cauliflower can be perfectly portioned and eaten either raw or cooked whole. The stem grows to 5.2 inches (13 cm) and develops another smaller stem together with a number of leaves. The plant is rich in fiber, and the stem is edible with a sweet, nutty taste.
Red Crush, Gautier Semences, France. Red Crush is the first totally red lettuce, which is intensely colored from the outside to the heart. The Red Crush concept comes in several varieties: a Little Gem with crunchy leaves, a Mini Cos with delicate, fine red foliage and a slightly sugary taste, and a multileaf with serrated leaves.
SchurStar Eat-Grow-Repeat Bag, Schur Star Systems GmbH, Germany. Vertically oriented pea plants in an organic hemp substrate “in the bag.” After separating the upper part of the bag, the bottom forms the pot for the plant. After the first harvest, the bag should be placed on a windowsill and given light, water and growth will continue.
Sinclair EcoLabel HOME, Sinclair International Co., Great Britain. Sinclair Ecolabel HOME is a first-generation, direct contact, food-safe compostable fruit label for high-speed, automated application. Paper based and plastic free, SEH is independently certified “OK compost HOME” (OKH-S0728) by TÜV Austria. Available in different sizes.
Sunions, BASF Vegetable Seeds Business, Netherlands. The Sunions variety offers consumers a new way to enjoy onions. They do not bring tears to the eyes when cut and have a mild, sweet taste. These attributes are maintained even with prolonged storage. Available in nets from 350 to 750 g.
At this year’s FRUIT LOGISTICA, more than 2,000 exhibitors presented their products, services, and technical solutions to over 40,000 buyers and trade visitors. Next year, the show will return to its original date in February, Feb. 8-10, 2023.