AGROFITT S.A.L. launched a pilot project to manufacture apple bites and chips. This project can also be used to make other types of bites out of various fruits and vegetables.
DID YOU KNOW?
AGROFITT’s main accomplishments include the production, drying, packing, and branding of agricultural crops such as vegetables and fruits. They also conduct research and studies on the advancement and improvement of agricultural and industrial techniques in addition to planning and developing agricultural production and crops.
WHAT’S THE INNOVATION?
AGROFITT has successfully collaborated with St. Joseph University on a variety of research projects. The result of these studies is the development of a new dehydration technology that reduces drying time by 40% compared to other applied technologies and manufactured products that are 100% natural, gluten-free, vitamin-rich, and have a shelf life of more than a year.
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND THE INNOVATION?
The Jezzine District is a rural area primarily dependent on agricultural harvesting, and this region is especially well-known for its apple planting. In 1989, Jezzine produced 278,000 apple boxes; however, production has since dropped to 120,000 boxes in 2003, and 32,000 boxes in 2016. Agrofitt attributes the decline in apple box production to rising production costs, a lack of financial resources, poor marketing conditions, and international and regional competition. These circumstances had a significant impact on the business. On an economic level, the decline in apple production reduced both GDP and local purchasing power. On a demographic level, most farmers stopped growing apples and moved to cities in search of more sustainable jobs. Finally, it had an effect on land desertification and a decrease in green spaces as a result of the decline in apple tree plantation.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The new dehydration technology has given AGROFITT’s KWIKEEZ a competitive advantage. The shelf life of the products has been extended from 9 to 12 months, and in some cases to 18 months. The crispiness, crunchiness, texture, taste, and color of dried fruits and vegetables have also been improved by technology. It also keeps nutritional values intact, is completely natural, and contains no added preservatives or sugars. Finally, no pesticides are used in the process.
WHO IS BENEFITTING?
The growing preference for healthy food consumption could be the driving force behind AGROFITT’s project. Customers in the Lebanese and international markets are aware of the advantages of leading a healthy lifestyle. Thus, AGROFITT’s project is responding to these needs in the local market by substituting lower-cost and higher-quality imported dehydrated fruits and vegetables, as well as exporting to the international market, where demand for healthier products is growing.