Landec and Chiquita Announce Supplier Agreement; Landec Intelimer Packaging to Extend Banana Shelf-Life


MENLO PARK, CA & CINCINNATI, OH, USA—Landec Corp., a developer and marketer of technology-based polymer products for food, agricultural, and licensed partner applications, and Chiquita Brands Intl. report Landec's food subsidiary, Apio Inc., has entered into a joint-technology development and supply agreement with Chiquita to provide Landec's patented Intelimer packaging technology for Chiquita bananas.

States Landec CEO Gary Steele: "This agreement is the culmination of several years of market trials to successfully validate our proprietary Intelimer packaging technology with bananas and its value in the marketplace. We are pleased that Chiquita recognizes the unique properties of our Intelimer technology and plans to use our packaging technology to add value to its banana products globally."

Adds Chiquita CEO Fernando Aguirre, "We have been evaluating the Intelimer packaging technology for bananas for two years and, based on the results, we believe this product will effectively extend the shelf life of bananas, which offers a significant benefit to our customers and consumers."

Landec says that under the long-term agreement, Apio will supply Chiquita with its proprietary Intelimer banana packaging technology on a worldwide basis for the ripening, conservation, and shelf-life extension of bananas in selective applications on an exclusive basis and for other applications on a non-exclusive basis.

In addition, says the company, Apio will provide Chiquita with ongoing research and development and process technology support for the Intelimer membranes and bags, and technical service support throughout the customer chain in order to assist in the development and market acceptance of the technology.

"Chiquita will provide marketing, distribution, and retail sales support for Chiquita bananas sold worldwide in Intelimer packaging," says Landec. "To maintain the exclusive license, Chiquita must meet minimum purchase thresholds of Intelimer-based banana packages. Commercial shipments of Chiquita products utilizing Landec's Intelimer packaging are scheduled to begin in early 2005."

Other information the company states in its Chiquita packaging announcement:

Chiquita and Landec have also agreed to work together to exploit the Intelimer packaging technology for other novel packaging applications using Chiquita bananas.

In addition, the two companies entered into a stock purchase agreement, whereby Landec will sell to Chiquita up to 500,000 shares of Landec common stock. The actual number and purchase price of the shares to be sold will be determined by an agreed formula based on the weighted average daily closing price of Landec's stock over the next 20 trading days.

"This agreement is consistent with our stated goals to expand the use of our proprietary technology and begin commercial sales of our Intelimer packaging technology for bananas during the second half of fiscal year 2005," Steele reports. "This is a milestone for Landec's proprietary banana packaging program. We have invested considerable efforts over the past three years in developing a variety of proprietary packaging products to extend the shelf life of bananas. We are now positioned to capitalize on our investments in research and development, manufacturing, and market research for banana packaging technology through this agreement."

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