Optifreeze, known for their technique to increase the consumer vase life of roses by 50% on average, has been busy with commercializing their machine. The machine is installed at the unpacking stage where dry flowers from Kenya arrive to Europe, where they are being cut again and put on water. With their second generation machine, they are close to reach their capacity goal of 40,000 stems per hour and they are now ready for the next steps. "On the retailers side, we are discussing how the increased vase life can be benefited the best but we are also investigating how the technique can be used in longer transportation methods, like sea freight," says Ulf Hagman, CEO at OptiFreeze.
Second gen machine
In Autumn 2020, Optifreeze installed their first machine at Swedish wholesaler De Tulp and after continuous fine tuning, they made a second generation that has been installed at Swedish wholesaler APH mid-January. "We have done a lot of work with the technical department to reach enough industrial capacity. The results are still in the preliminary stage, but they are strong and we need to get that out in industrial capacity. We are therefore pleased that we are close to reach our goal of treating 40,000 stems per hour. Now, the machine can connect to the usual pace of processing." On top of that, the stage when the treatment will be applied is flexible; it can be applied, before cutting, after cutting or in the middle of the belt.
Second gen machine at APH
Increased vaselife - How to benefit the most
The patented technology and machine that OptiFreeze invented for the shelf life extension of roses is called OptiBoost. They can expand the consumer vase life of roses by 50% on average. "It depends per variety, for some, we even seen the vase life being tripled.” But how to benefit the most of this increased vase life? Together with retailers, Optifreeze is therefore discussing how consumers and retailers can use the extra vase life the best. "It can be used to cut losses, have more sales days or offer the consumer a better vase life. From research this latter option already has shown that consumers are willing to this latter option already has shown that consumers are eager to pay 20 percent more for a better product.
On the left: Untreated Red Furiosa. On the right: OptiBoost™ treated Red Furiosa
Treatment for sea freight
Sea freight is becoming an increasingly more popular manner of transport for cut flowers and Ulf believes that their treatment can be used to make it a more attractive option for cut roses. "Sea freight is becoming a more interesting option as it is a more environmentally friendly than airfreight and we see that retailers and consumers are more and more asking for more environmentally friendly alternatives." Currently, they are investigating if the transport of flowers can benefit from their treatment technology.
Introduction and Covid-19
Optifreeze is eager to spread their wings internationally and introduce their machines abroad, however COVID-19 has thrown a spinner in the bin. "When the pandemic started, we decided to pick up more activities, like the research to consumer spending and installing machines at Swedish wholesalers, within the country. However, we can't wait go international. We received so many positive reactions from the industry several different countries."