Seed World

IDEAL Melons Bring New Flavor and Longer Shelf-Life to Melon Breeding

When consumers crave the juiciness and sweet aroma of their perfect cantaloupe melon in the grocery store, sometimes it’s hard to choose the melon that is ripe and ready based on rind appearance. Really, the average consumer might have to google ‘How do I know if a cantaloupe is ripe’ because the history of cantaloupe breeding has indeed changed. To combine agronomic needs for growers, shipping ability, characteristics needed to move from growing region to consumption region, and the shelf-life needed to endure that journey to land on retailer shelf, meant the shift into long-shelf-life melon breeding. But those demands and the consumer eating experience did not match.

Syngenta Vegetable Seeds hopes to curb some of the confusion with a new concept for long-shelf-life (LSL) cantaloupe melons— IDEAL Melons with the Harvest Indicator Trait. This trait is a patent-pending innovation that cues readiness at each step of the value chain, signaling when it’s ideal to harvest, ship, stock on shelves and eat. How? The melon’s rind changes color from green to a golden straw color signaling readiness, ripeness and quality at each step, eliminating the guesswork for each stakeholder along the chain.

IDEAL Melon varieties can be sourced for growers’ year-round production. Importantly offering consumers consistent, flavorful taste increasing certainty and satisfaction with every grocery trip.

“With IDEAL Melons, Syngenta Vegetable Seeds is targeting the ‘fresh’ seeking consumer who values a consistent, delicious, musky aroma, golden-colored melon — something that was lost with traditional long-shelf-life fruits,” says Ivy Perez, Syngenta Vegetable Seeds Americas’ marketing communications lead. “And we are delivering just that with IDEAL Melons; but don’t just take our word for it. We partnered with the University of California-Davis to compare IDEAL Melons against traditional LSL varieties.”

According to their evaluation study, IDEAL Melons had significantly higher and consistent sugars (Brix), significantly more volatile organic compounds leading to highly aromatic melons, more consistent flesh texture (firmness) across the shelf life of the melon and higher amounts of the dark orange flesh color because the trait signaled the ideal moment to harvest at peak ripeness.

Perez also mentioned the consumer panel study showed “that when compared to IDEAL Melons, standard LSL melons were disliked significantly more, leading to unsatisfied consumers.”

Key IDEAL Melon varieties have been launched in the Americas, with a robust trialing network currently in place in Central and North America, Africa, Iberia, Italy, and Australia to globally scaleup this game-changing innovation, and to disrupt and grow this seed market.