At the heart of Sun World’s business is an abiding commitment to developing new fruit varieties that can be grown in a sustainable way and optimized for yield, flavor, and appearance. That work is led by Sun World geneticists and plant breeders and is supported by a team of research associates, technicians and agronomists who develop best practices for increasing the quality and production of crops.
To fuel their important work, Sun World opened a Center for Innovation on a 160-acre campus near Bakersfield, CA. It features a 17,000-square-foot building with laboratories for molecular breeding, seedling transfers and post-harvest assessment, plus a large experimental research farm. Variety development to date has largely focused on grapes and stone fruit, but the future holds promise for the commercialization of adjacent fruit crops.
Sun World was a pioneer in variety development and through our steady introduction of clearly superior branded fruit, the Company popularized the very concept of produce that the consumer asks for by name.
A logical offshoot of breeding better fruit is the ability to share that product with a global audience. Sun World began its international licensing program 20 years ago and today is one of the foremost fruit licensors in the world.
At the outset of a new licensing relationship, Sun World works closely with each grower to determine the specific varieties that will be optimal in their geography. Licensed nurseries propagate and distribute vines to authorized growers and the Sun World team provides ongoing technical and marketing support, literally in the field, to ensure each grower’s success.
Our growers can realize a meaningful premium with Sun World varieties and we vigorously enforce IP rights to safeguard their investment. Additionally, the Company actively manages global plantings using supply and demand analysis to maximize licensee returns.
If you’re interested in learning more about Sun World’s licensing program click here.
In addition to using the latest breeding technologies to improve the flavor, availability and sustainability of our premium varieties, we closely follow emerging technologies that have the potential to one day transform agriculture.
Sun World has identified ag tech — ag tech refers to software, hardware and bio-based solutions to mitigate farming’s pain points — as an important strategic focus in the years ahead.
The Company is carefully studying early-stage tech to determine which hold the greatest promise. These include process automation, robotics, AI, integrated software solutions for crop management.
While Sun World’s focus will remain on variety development and licensing, ag tech is a logical extension of our innovation posture and the company is proceeding with optimism and prudence.
A Mission-Driven Approach to Sustainability
At Sun World we believe that through our work in genetics and variety development, we can make a material and enduring positive impact on the environment. Much of this work is motivated simply by what’s good for the planet, yet the added efficiencies of farming sustainably often allow growers to increase pricing – making our varietals even more valuable.
These are some of the characteristics we seek to identify and propagate:
- Increased crop yields
- Effective water usage
- Targeted use of soil nutrients
- Reduced use of fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and growth hormones
- Less post-harvest food waste
- Less food waste at the retail and consumer levels
- Efficient deployment of labor
- Use of non-traditional growing environments
Internships – The Next Generation of Leaders
By choosing to focus the business on variety development and licensing, Sun World signaled its intent to impact the agriculture industry in a meaningful way long-term. As part of that commitment to the future, each year Sun World hosts interns at the Company’s new Center for Innovation. An intern must be nominated by a Sun World customer and can come from any of the 15 countries where the Company does business.
A Sun World Internship provides a comprehensive learning experience, both in the lab and in the field, for those interested in a career in agriculture.