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The revolution of Superfruiter's 'personal melons' arrives in Spain

The Israeli company is implementing its production process in Spain to offer Europe two seedless mini melons weighing less than 800 grams and a cherry melon with edible skin, designed to capture 10% of the world market share.


Canary yellow melon, less than 800 grams without fertile seeds, from Superfruiter.

Change in trends and consumption habits of the general population, due to new dietary preferences, in search of healthy eating, and the desire for a greater variety of foods, with special emphasis on the exotic, has caused an increase, which is maintained over time, of the demand for exotic fruits and new ways of consuming traditional fruits, providing convenience and minimizing food waste in a society that lives in a hurry but does not want to give up enjoying the benefits of fruit. That is why the production sector is constantly innovating and looking for new formulas to respond to consumer desires.

In this context, Superfruiter was born, an Israeli technology company specialized in genomic selection applied to the production of high-value fruits, the result of the cooperation of the Israeli seed house, specialized in the improvement and commercialization of innovative fruits and vegetables, BreedX; with the financial support of the Israeli investment fund specialized in agriculture and food, COPIA Agro & Food Technologies, directed by investor Ohad Zuckerman, an experienced entrepreneur who made his fortune in the seed production sector and who heads one of the venture capital firms more dynamics in the Israeli agrotech sector; and the collaboration of the famous Volcani Center in Israel. A company, Superfruiter, whose team is led by the experienced Yael Alter, CEO of the company and a professional with extensive experience in consolidating disruptive Israeli startups within the food field; together with doctors Moshe Bar and Yaakov Tadmor, experts in seed production and genomic selection, respectively; who has developed and patented a technology based on a gene, which produces smaller fruits but multiplies the yield of the plants by five compared to conventional varieties.

This technology, based on a traditional reproduction system that does not include genetic editing or modification (non-transgenic), has its origin in the chemical induction, with ethylmethanesulfonate, of variations (chemical mutagenesis) in a Charentais-type melon, which gave rise to thousands of families, each one of them, derived from the self-pollination of a single treated seed. Of them, one of the families was segregated for showing a phenotype with multiple seedless fruits; phenotype that a quarter of the plants had and that is due to a single recessive gene, which was called sf (superfruiter). The characteristics of the lines that presented this phenotype were that they had fewer seeds, which were infertile or empty, and more fruits but of a smaller size, their quality not being affected. From there, the gene was identified and a marker system was created to develop Superfruiter seeds or plants.

From this improvement process, three types of premium mini melons have been obtained, designed for personal consumption: two of them weighing up to 800 grams, one Piel de Sapo and another Canary Yellow; both without fertile seeds, to be grown in greenhouses, with up to 20 fruits per plant, in contrast to the four fruits of conventional variety plants, which increases the average profit per hectare by three and reduces the carbon footprint by reducing it by 30% of the water needed for irrigation and fertilization needs, as well as a 40% saving in crop area, achieving a super efficient crop. On the other hand, melons have been developed the size and shape of a pear cherry tomato, weighing up to 70 grams, with edible skin and empty micro seeds, which can be consumed in the same way as a cherry tomato, which represents a great innovation in the market and that provides great convenience to the consumer, becoming a super Premium product.

Innovative Premium products whose supply is planned as a short chain, creating market attraction through marketing from supermarkets to producers, thus maximizing profits for all links in the supply chain. That is why Superfruiter is starting the first trials in Spain this year, specifically in the area of Almería and Murcia, although it is also in talks with companies in the fruit and vegetable sector in other regions such as Extremadura or Castilla La Mancha. In this way, for its expansion in Europe, it is already implementing its production process in Spain with the collaboration of the investment fund specialized in the food industry Eureka Corp., with the configuration of its investment pull and its network of collaborators, among which that there are already several top-level national producers, such as Procomel – El Abuelo, KPE, Mujiverde, La Palma, and Semillas Fitó, with whom it already has pilot projects. In addition, it is also working, in coordination with the Eureka Corp. team, and the opening of relationships with the main distribution chains in Europe and the United Kingdom, as well as some renowned chefs, since the new melon formats proposed by Superfruiter, with a gourmet and totally innovative approach, allow the creation of completely disruptive, very much in line with current haute cuisine trends. The company's idea is to develop a network of collaborations with producers, exploring different formats with each of them, in order to reach the entire European market from Spain. The company plans to invest around 5 million euros in the implementation of its expansion plan in Spain, where, together with the continuation of the trials in Israel, the seeds will be selected to be grown on a semi-commercial scale in 2024, and that is This year, test shipments are also planned to selected supermarkets that work with selected cooperatives, with Piel de Sapo and Canary Yellow melons weighing up to 800 grams being marketed on a commercial scale in 2025, and initial penetration will be in 2026. of cherry melon in the market.

The objective of Superfruiter, which stands out in the market as a company specialized in personal melon seeds without direct competition, is to achieve a potential market worth more than 100 million euros annually before the end of 2030, with direct sales from Israel, United States, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Costa Rica, Brazil, Morocco and Italy, in addition to the establishment of sublicenses to important seed companies around the world, so, together, a market share of personal melons from the 10% in five years.

A revolution in figures that will make many producers opt for the cultivation of these mini melons that promise great profitability per hectare.

Infoagro Edition: Lydia Medero

Piel de sapo melon, 800 grams without fertile seeds, from Superfruiter.
Cherry melon, with edible skin, from Superfruiter.
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