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Landec says banana packaging tests successful

20-Jun-2005

Initial market tests of Landec's Intelimer temperature-sensitive packaging helps extend the shelf-life of bananas, according to the company.

The test is being run with Chiquita Brands to gauge the shelf life of bananas wrapped in Landec's packaging and the reaction of store managers to the polymer wrapping.

Landec's Intelimer-based food packaging regulates the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide within a package to maintain the optimum atmosphere for the particular vegetable in order to extend the shelf life of the produce, the company claims.

 

"Package atmospheres can be uniquely tailored to accommodate high respiration rates and compensate for modest ranges of temperature abuse, resulting in extended shelf life and higherquality taste, smell, and appearance of fresh produce," the company said on its Internet site.

 

Gary Steele, Landec's president and chief executive officer said the company has been working with Chiquita to develop the banana packaging for distribution to commercial outlets that normally donot sell bananas because of their short shelf-life.

 

"Based on these objectives, the initial trial results have been a success and as a result an aggressive expansion plan is being developed," Landec said in a statement. "Inaddition, Chiquita is now beginning store trials with a second large non-grocery retail chain in the US using Landec's packaging technology and Chiquita bananas."

 

Under the testing agreement, Landec's food subsidiary, Apio, is supplying Chiquita with its proprietary Intelimer banana packaging worldwide. In addition, Apio will provide Chiquita withongoing research and development along with technology support for the Intelimer membranes and bags.

 

To maintain the exclusive license, Chiquita must buy an minimum amount of the packaging annually. Chiquita has purchased 486,111 shares in Landec for $3.5m in cash in conjunction with the jointtechnology development and supply agreement.

 

Landec manufactures and sells temperature-activated and other specialty polymer products for a variety of food and agricultural companies. The company's temperature-activated products are based onits proprietary polymers. The company's products differ from other polymers as they can be customised to abruptly change their physical characteristics when heated or cooled through a pre-settemperature switch.

 

For the fiscal third quarter ended 27 February 2005 the company had revenues of $51.5m compared to $48.6m for the same period a year ago. The company reported net income for the quarter of $2.3mcompared to net income of $725,000 a year earlier.

 

The company also reported it has entered into an agreement with Caito Foods in Indiana to regionally process, package and distribute specialty packaged fresh-cut vegetable tray products. Landec Ag,the company's agricultural seed subsidiary has introduced 26 new corn hybrids so far in 2005, bringing the line-up to 116 hybrid seed varieties it currently has for sale.

 

The company also reported its that its Intellicoat Early Plant coated corn product continues to perform well across adverse growing conditions, resulting in higher yields, and that in some cases in2004, provided higher yields than late-planted corn by as much as 40 bushels per acre.