The Intrexon synthetic biology company announced today that it is acquiring Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the science start-up behind the non-browning Arctic apple, for $31 million in Intrexon common stock and $10 million in cash.

One of the fastest-growing categories of the fruit and vegetable industry is the fresh-cut segment, bolstered by the convenience factor and upward trend in consumption of healthier foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced approval of the first two nonbrowning apple varieties, Arctic Golden and Arctic Granny apples, a few weeks ago.

Marrying the art of fruit breeding with cutting-edge science results in exciting new products that can benefit consumers and producers alike. For example, the Arctic apple provides consumers with an answer to a pesky but common food issue without any flavor-altering, anti-browning additives. It is an alternative to current approaches to browning control, which are more costly and require the application of chemical solutions or antioxidants.

Additionally, apples will be increasingly accessible to food service outlets, where consumers spend roughly 50% of their food dollars, because Arctic apples solve both cost per serving and quality concerns associated with pre-cut apples.