“We see that we can help customers reduce waste, increase business opportunities and take advantage of the higher rose quality to get higher prices with OptiBoost technology,” says Johan Möllerström, chief executive officer of OptiCept.
OptiCept Technologies developed its OptiBoost technology that uses vacuum infusion to impregnate cut flowers with a nutrient solution to extend the flowers’ shelf life. The treatment can be done at any point following the harvest, such as at the farm, the wholesale facility, or in the grocery store itself. According to the OptiBoost website, the treatment takes only 36 seconds and can manage +40,000 roses per hour. Its modular design means that the actual handling capacity depends only on how units are installed.
Through a joint collaboration with Syngenta and Prebona, OptiCept launched the technology at the beginning of 2022.
“With OptiBoost, we see that the flower opens more nicely, the leaves and stem will be greener, and the flower will have a better shelf life,” says Johan.
Untreated roses on the left, OptiBoost-treated roses on the right.
OptiBoost to treat all Axfood Group’s roses
In 2021, the OptiBoost system underwent extensive evaluations at Axfood Group stores which sold both untreated and OptiBoost-treated cut roses. The evaluations proved successful as sales were significantly increased and waste was reduced in stores selling OptiBoost-treated roses. These promising results have prompted the Axfood Group, which includes about 600 own and collaborating stores in Sweden, to treat all its roses with OptiBoost. With the ambition to treat all their supply of cut flowers long-term as the technology is developed.
“Roses are a high-value crop, and globally, we are investing a lot in growing roses. We think that it is a pity to waste this kind of investment. With 20% waste, we are not using our rose-growing footprint well. If we decide to make this footprint, let’s ensure that we do so responsibly,” explains Johan.
New sales leads generated in South America, Miami
Following the success of the blind evaluations in Sweden, OptiBoost is making its way overseas to South America as OptiCept prepares to send its first machines to Ecuador and Colombia. In a recent two-week sales tour in Colombia, Ecuador, and Miami, more than 20 sales leads were generated, representing 3-4 billion rose stems per year.
OptiBoost is also being trialed in UK supermarkets, with a demonstration machine at London’s Mercato Metropolitano and with Flamingo Group International, the second being the largest wholesaler of cut roses in the UK. The company also plans to have machines operational in Holland in the near future. Johan also explains that there is a huge demand for OptiBoost technology in Asia, with China being particularly up-and-coming.
OptiBoost proving to be very flexible
According to Johan, OptiBoost can be used at any time following harvest, whether it be on the farm, at the wholesaler’s facility, or in the market itself. This makes the technology very adaptable to different steps of the supply chain, as roses can be treated before freighting overseas, upon unpacking at the stores, etc.
Certain OptiBoost users are also using OptiBoost to treat other cut flowers with good results.
On the 7-9th of June, the OptiBoost is attending the Floriexpo exhibition in Miami to showcase their technology.
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Johan Möllerström, CEO