Fruit Logistica will be the backdrop for the international launch of the five-year sustainability initiative

A consortium led by Blue Whale has launched a major project to make the French apple industry more sustainable. (Re)Generation Fruit is a five-year initiative to test and combine innovative technologies to ensure the agro-ecological transition of the apple sector. It is being supported by the French government and funded to the tune of €12m.

Blue Whale ReGeneration

The other members of the consortium are Maf Roda, biotech start-ups Micropep and AsciepiosTech, the engineering school of Purpan and the National Institute for Agricultural, Food and Environmental Research (INRAE).

“Our aim is to promote the ecological transition of the sector by working to maintain production levels and reduce the use of pesticides,” said Bruno Bertheloz, director of Blue Whale. “We are convinced that technological innovation will allow us to evolve towards ecologically efficient and economically sustainable production.”

Between now and 2028, the consortium will work on validating methods and innovations to achieve a number of goals, namely to improve soil life; boost plants’ natural defences against pests; cut the use of phytosanitary products by half; minimise fruit losses, improve the nutritional content of fruit and find ways of production that respect the ecosystem.

The work will be carried out in experimental centres in the south west of France and in the Loire Valley. The partners will meet regularly to share progress and a dedicated website has been set up for the group. At the end of the five years, the results will be shared with the public.

(Re)Generation was launched in Montauban, France last September and will be unveiled internationally at next month’s Fruit Logistica by Blue Whale’s marketing and communications manager Christelle Bertin at the Fresh Produce Forum in Hall 23 on Wednesday, 7 February at 15:00.

“It is very important for us to involved all links in the chain in this project,” Bertin said. “Our customers are already implementing targeted CSR plans. Through (Re)Generation Fruit, we as their producers and business partners can help them achieve their goals. That’s why continuous communication and collaboration with all stakeholders is crucial for us.”