Bonduelle, a Canada-based frozen vegetable processor, signed a commercial royalty-bearing license with EnWave Corp., Canada. Bonduelle's global distribution reaches into more than 100 countries worldwide, primarily selling fresh, frozen and canned vegetables. The license grants Bonduelle the 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 can yield product qualities that are similar to fresh product. The lower moisture levels inherent of DHF products reduce the amount of “weeping” that typically occurs when cooking frozen vegetables.
Before signing the aforementioned license, Bonduelle conducted an extensive market evaluation of REV-dried DHF vegetables with a number of foodservice and retail food companies, as well as chef clients. The market evaluation illustrated that the majority of participants could not tell the difference between 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.
Moving forward, EnWave plans to build a 120kW MIVAP machine via their subsidiary Hans Binder Maschinenbau GMBH for Bonduelle to use for their North American operations. EnWave will provide the capital to finance the initial machine built under an equipment lease agreement provided the company can secure equity financing for the project and Bonduelle is able to secure acceptable levels of government subsidies to help finance the project and support ongoing product development and technology expansion. Both parties anticipate securing financing and signing a definitive equipment lease agreement by Jan. 31, 2014 to enable the initial plant to start up by Q4 2014.
Additionally, EnWave and Bonduelle agreed to collaborate on the design of a commercial-scale quantaREV machine for DHF vegetable applications with a target capacity in the range of 3-4 tons of finished product per hour. Both companies 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 also agreed to set up a pilot-scale quantaREV machine at Bonduelle's North American facilities by Q2 calendar 2014, so Bonduelle can continue market development for DHF vegetable applications. Bonduelle's European group also plans to rent a lab-scale REV unit to initiate product development efforts for the European and other global markets.
"This represents a new global market sector for EnWave to penetrate with an industry leader," says Dr. Tim Durance, chairman and co-CEO of EnWave. "It also provides an opportunity for EnWave 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," says 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."