Last week, US-based Intrexon Corporation, a specialist in synthetic biology, agreed to acquire Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF), the Canadian agricultural company responsible for the genetically modified non-browning Arctic apple.
The move came just a fortnight after the USDA deregulated Arctic apples, freeing growers to plant and market Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden.
The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of the year, with Okanagan's stockholders receiving US$10m in cash and a further US$31m in Intrexon stock.
We are committed to bringing better versions of consumers’ favorite fruits to their grocery stores and kitchens, while addressing additional novel traits in tree fruits that reduce waste and address supply chain challenges,” said OSF president Neal Carter.
“Joining forces with Intrexon and applying our combined technical know-how is an important step to introducing beneficial products for consumers and growers.”
Intrexon's senior vice president and head of the food sector, Thomas Kasser, said that the acquisition would enable the company to "deliver more accessible and affordable choices of high-quality foods for an ever-growing population".
An important factor behind the purchase is the rapid growth of the fresh-cut segment, with prepared sliced apples growing in popularity but currently requiring chemical solutions or antioxidants to prevent browning.