June 10/Menlo Park, Calif./Business Wire -- Landec Corporation and Monsanto Company announced that Monsanto's vegetable seed company, Seminis Vegetable Seeds Inc., and Landec's food subsidiary, Apio Inc., have entered into a collaboration agreement to develop novel broccoli and cauliflower products for the exclusive sale by Apio in defined market segments and channels.

As part of the agreement, Apio and Seminis will work together to identify and develop unique varieties of broccoli and cauliflower for the North American market for use in Apio's proprietary value-added packaged bags and trays for retail grocery chains, club stores and the foodservice industry. The companies will focus on developing and commercializing broccoli and cauliflower varieties that possess unique, desirable consumer traits, such as improved nutrition, flavor, color, texture, taste and/or aroma to improve the value of these vegetable offerings in Apio's products.

Seminis will apply its expertise to breed broccoli and cauliflower qualities using proven techniques that improve the speed and accuracy of new and beneficial trait identification and selection. Apio will apply its expertise in sourcing, manufacturing, packaging and marketing of vegetable products to provide definition and guidance of market needs, packaging solutions and commercialization strategies for these novel consumer trait products. All products that reach commercialization will be packaged using Apio's proprietary Intelimer BreatheWay packaging.

"We are very pleased that Seminis has chosen Apio as a partner for the development and commercialization of its broccoli and cauliflower varieties containing traits of added consumer value," stated Ron Midyett, Apio's CEO. "By having the rights to market and sell unique varieties exclusively in defined market segments and channels, Apio has the ability to expand its leadership position in packaged produce with truly differentiated products that fulfill the needs of today's consumers. By meeting these needs, we believe we can profitably accelerate our growth in the packaged vegetable category. We expect field trials for the initial target varieties to begin this fall."

"With Apio's guidance on packaged vegetables, this collaboration offers us the opportunity to more effectively utilize our extensive breeding capabilities to identify new vegetable varieties and apply the depth and breadth of our technology pipeline to provide real benefits to consumers as they look for more ways to incorporate healthy eating habits into their lifestyle," said Ibrahim El Menschawi, Seminis marketing lead.

From the June 23, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash