GMO 'Arctic' apple company sold

by press release | March 02, 2015

Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the agricultural company behind the newly approved GMO "Arctic" brand apple, has been acquired by Intrexon Corp. The acquisition comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Department of Agriculture deregulated the GMO apples.

"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," Neal Carter, founder of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, said in a press release.arct1A conventional Granny apple next to an 'Arctic' Granny. "Joining forces with Intrexon and applying our combined technical know-how is an important step to introducing beneficial products for consumers and growers."

One of the fastest-growing categories of the fruit and vegetable industry is the fresh-cut segment, bolstered by the convenience factor and upward trend in consumption of healthier foods.  Marrying the art of fruit breeding with cutting-edge science results in exciting new products that can benefit consumers and producers alike.

"The Arctic apple provides consumers with an answer to a pesky but common food issue without any flavor-altering, anti-browning additives," according to Intrexon. "It is an alternative to current approaches to browning control, which are more costly and require the application of chemical solutions or antioxidants. Additionally, apples will be increasingly accessible to foodservice outlets, where consumers spend roughly 50 percent of their food dollars, because Arctic apples solve both cost per serving and quality concerns associated with pre-cut apples."

"Okanagan is a world leader in the development of fruit-bearing plants to express enhanced, advantageous traits with tremendous potential to revolutionize the tree fruit industry," Thomas R. Kasser, senior vice president and head of Intrexon's food sector, said in the release. "Through this acquisition, we can deliver more accessible and affordable choices of high-quality foods for an ever-growing population.  We are extremely pleased that Neal Carter will remain with the company providing both the creative spirit and deep understanding of the tree fruit business that will assure continued future success in this expanding business opportunity."

Pursuant to the definitive agreement, Okanagan's stockholders will receive $31 million in Intrexon common stock and $10 million in upfront cash. Consummation of the transaction, anticipated in the first half of 2015, is subject to customary closing conditions.