Coast company's world first invention will 'revolutionise' industry

COOLUM-BASED food technology business Naturo All Natural Technologies has developed world-first technology which its founders say will revolutionise the global avocado market.

The technology addresses some of the biggest obstacles facing the avocado industry - the fruit's short life span and its reputation for unsightly browning once cut.

The Australian invention not only stops the browning of cut or pulped avocado fruit for a minimum of 10 days when refrigerated, including when packaging has been opened.

It does so using a natural process which preserves the nutritional properties and taste of the avocado without chemicals, additives, preservatives or processing aids.

Naturo's Natavo Zero technology uses pressure fluctuations produced by steam to switch off the enzyme responsible for the fruit's browning.

The technology is capable of processing any cut of avocado or avocado pulp at the rate of about 4000 avocado fruits per hour, providing cost-effective, energy-efficient and reliable processing via a machine Naturo calls the "Avocado Time Machine”.

Each machine is designed and manufactured by Naturo to the customer's specific requirements.

It can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Until the arrival of this technology, food safety had always been a major concern for the avocado processing industry.

Safe processed products could only be produced using very expensive 'HPP' technology and even then it could only be applied to avocado pulp (not cut avocados).

The problem of fruit browning remained. Natavo Zero offers a safe and affordable processing solution which meets all food safety standards required to export avocado products to some of the fastest growing overseas markets including the USA, Asia and Europe.

After spending four years on research and development of the worldwide-patented technology and founding their company late last year, Naturo directors Frank Schreiber and Jeff Hastings said now was the time to launch their Avocado Time Machine to the world.

Mr Hastings said the technology had the potential to become the new industry standard.

"By understanding the avocado's life cycle and the complex correlation of enzymes involved in the browning process, we have made it possible for the world to enjoy 100% natural, ready-to-eat avocado slices, dices, chunks or pulped products while retaining the flavour and fresh taste of avocado without browning,” Mr Hastings said.

"All products stay fresh for a minimum of 10 days when refrigerated, even after the packaging has been opened.

"That is very good news for the avocado industry and for the consumer.”

Mr Schreiber said that although a range of avocado products was on the market, nearly all of them contained additives such as antioxidants, acids and preservatives .

And he said they did "very little” to stop the browning once the packaging was opened.

"Our 100% natural technology not only preserves the taste, colour and shelf life of the avocado but provides complete peace of mind for the industry. Our Natavo Zero process and machinery complies with all international food safety standards, including US-FDA standards, and can even satisfy organic certification in its country of operation.”

Mr Hastings said that with avocados recognised as a delicious 'superfood' and demand growing, the result of a consumer purchasing an avocado from a grocery store was often disappointment.

"It is difficult for people to select, buy and enjoy the perfect avocado because more often than not the fruit has already deteriorated or started its browning process,” he said.

"Additionally, the relatively high cost of avocados, combined with the fruit's short shelf life makes it a challenge to incorporate the fruit into a daily diet, especially in countries which have no access to fresh avocados. Our technology changes all that.

"We see Natavo Zero technology as a benchmark for innovation and quality in the avocado industry and expect that the consumer's appetite for healthier, 100% natural and safe avocado products is realised by the local industry.

"An Australian company has already secured the opportunity to be the first processor to use the technology and we expect they will be producing avocado products later this year.

"This is a rare win-win-win situation for everybody involved, it's a win for avocado farmers, a win for the food industry and ultimately a win for consumers.”