Bonduelle Thinks REV Technology Could be Game-Changer for Frozen Vegetable Business
Vancouver, BC, Canada-based EnWave Corporation announced on November 19 that it has signed a commercial royalty-bearing license with a division of Bonduelle, a leading processed vegetable producer headquartered in France that distributes frozen and canned products to more than 100 countries around the world.
The license grants it exclusive global rights to develop and launch dehydrofrozen (DHF) vegetables using EnWave’s Radiant Energy Vacuum (REV) technology.
DHF vegetables are partially dehydrated and then quickly frozen. The purpose of this process is to retain nutritional content, color, flavor and texture when cooked from the frozen state. When perfected, DHF vegetables are said to yield qualities that are similar to fresh products. The lower moisture levels inherent of DHF products reduce the amount of so-called “weeping” that typically occurs when cooking frozen vegetables.
Before signing the license, Bonduelle conducted an extensive market evaluation of REV-dried DHF vegetables with a number of foodservice and retail operators, as well as with chef clients. The market evaluation results illustrated that the majority of participants could not tell the difference between so-called fresh and DHF products after being cooked. These results combined with the economic value of DHF products derived from longer controlled shelf-life, more efficient delivery and better product consistency over a calendar year, contributed to Bonduelle’s decision to secure global exclusive licensing rights for REV technology.
Moving forward, EnWave plans to build a 120kW MIVAP machine, via their subsidiary Hans Binder Maschinenbau GmbH, for Bonduelle to use in its North American operations. EnWave aims to provide the capital to finance construction of the initial machine under an equipment lease agreement, provided the company can secure equity financing for the project and Bonduelle is able to secure ample government subsidies to help finance the project and support ongoing product development and technology expansion. Both parties anticipate obtaining financing and signing a definitive equipment lease agreement by January 31, 2014, to enable the initial plant to start up by the fourth quarter of 2014.
Additionally, EnWave and Bonduelle have agreed to collaborate on the design of a commercial-scale quantaREV machine for DHF vegetable applications, with a target capacity in the range of three to four tons of finished product per hour. The two companies reportedly plan to complete final technical design work and prototype testing by early 2015, with the goal of making quantaREV technology available for a larger global rollout in 2015 and beyond.
This represents EnWave’s first chance to develop a commercial application for quantaREV in partnership with a commercial licensee in the vegetable sector. EnWave has agreed to set up a pilot-scale quantaREV machine at Bonduelle's North American facilities by the second quarter of calendar year 2014, so the company can continue market development for DHF vegetable applications. Meanwhile, Bonduelle's European group intends to rent a lab-scale REV unit to initiate product development efforts for the EU and other markets.
"This represents a new global market sector for EnWave to penetrate with an industry leader," stated Dr. Tim Durance, chairman and co-ceo of EnWave. "It also provides an opportunity for us to advance the development of quantaREV for vegetables in partnership with a commercial licensee."
"REV technology is potentially game-changing as it could allow Bonduelle to redefine industry and consumer expectations regarding the quality of frozen vegetables," stated Daniel Vielfaure, president of Bonduelle Americas. "We look forward to working with EnWave to develop our DHF offerings in the North American and other global markets."