DURHAM, N.C. – (June 15, 2020) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today visited Pairwise to learn more about how the food tech company is working to solve health challenges through food. Secretary Perdue and company leaders discussed how small business innovation and modern technology are helping find new ways to help make healthier food choices available across the United States.
North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler joined Secretary Perdue and Pairwise leaders in discussing food as health, and the ways techniques like gene editing are helping create opportunities for improvement.
“Now more than ever, consumers need better options for healthier food choices.” said Pairwise CEO Tom Adams. “We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss with Secretary Perdue and Commissioner Troxler how Pairwise is using our unique gene editing capabilities to accelerate innovation in fruits and vegetables to make a healthier world.”
“We want to make choosing a delicious piece of fruit, or hearty vegetable, easier by offering new varieties and addressing some of the reasons today they are not the go-to choice,” added Adams.
In the United States, approximately nine percent of adults are getting the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, accordingly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Only eight percent of calories in the average U.S. diet come from fruit and vegetables, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Pairwise is currently focused in three areas: leafy greens, berries and cherries. Teams are working to address traits like flavor, texture, shelf life and other factors that play into consumer choices. For example, in less than one year, teams have identified ways to make a mustard green variety that is less pungent than what is currently available, while maintaining its high nutrient density. In addition, teams are looking at seedless blackberries, pitless cherries and other ways to make more produce varieties with strong health benefits broadly appealing to consumers.
Pairwise currently is partnered with the USDA, leading academic institutions and partner companies in a unique public/private partnership to study the genetic diversity in blackberries, red raspberries, black raspberries and multiple wild caneberry species such as salmon and thimble berries.
Formed as a mission-driven company, Pairwise has grown to nearly 100 employees in two years, coming together to build a healthier world through better fruits and vegetables.