Israeli firm sets its sights on lucrative saffron market dominated by Iran

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Saffron Tech, an Israeli, wholly owned subsidiary of Seedo Corp, is developing a technology for automated, year-round saffron growing in a bid to capture a slice of the lucrative US$1 billion annual market in saffron supply.

If successful, the solution has the potential to challenge the global Iranian monopoly on saffron, which has stood strong for the past 1,000 years. Iran has historically dominated the trade in ‘red gold’, meeting 90-95% of world demand, as it enjoys soil and climate conditions ideal for the growing and production of saffron using traditional, labour intensive methods.

Iran has historically dominated the trade in ‘red gold’ (Saffron)

Saffron Tech’s new technology hopes to provide turnkey automated growing solutions for high-quality, high-yield saffron – all year round. The company is developing and testing an automated vertical farm for saffron growing, using its knowledge in plant biology to provide optimal conditions for each stage of the plant’s development to enhance product quality. Currently, traditional methods produce one annual harvest – however Saffron Tech’s solution could deliver more.

Saffron Tech says its solution also meets the ‘Grow Next to Consumer’ trend, enhancing sustainability and providing an answer to current COVID-19 restrictions on transport. It is environmentally friendly, using more economic levels of water, space, fertiliser, and energy. The company believes its controlled indoor growing technology could produce ten times more yield compared to the same land area using traditional methods. The sealed environment eliminates the need for harmful pesticides and herbicides, producing a clean and safe product. It says its solution is easily scalable and pre-designed to quickly grow operations.

Saffron is used in many industries, such as the food industry, particularly by famous chefs and Michelin-starred restaurants, the natural cosmetics industry and the natural medicine industry and as a dye in the textile industry,” explained David Friedenberg, Saffron Tech CEO. “It is considered the ‘Red Gold’, worth its weight in gold. We are about to revolutionize the way saffron is grown, growing it all year round and anywhere with our indoors growing technology.”

Saffron Tech is currently raising funds via the Israeli Crowdfunding site

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