TransFresh® - Over 40 years of Fresh Solutions

A History of Solutions for the Transportation Needs of Perishables


Transfresh® Corporation was originally formed in 1966 as a business partnership between Whirlpool Corporation and Bruce Church Incorporated, a major lettuce grower based in Salinas, California. TransFresh® was given the mission of developing a service business, providing shippers with the “best atmosphere” for transporting fresh perishables. The word “Tectrol” was derived from a Whirlpool research and development division named “Total Environmental Control Division”. Tectrol® is a registered trademark owned by TransFresh® Corporation.

By the time TransFresh® was formed in 1966, TransFresh® was offering modified atmosphere service for over the road truck/trailers, refrigerated sea vans and refrigerated rail cars.

In 1968, the first pallet bag of fresh strawberries was shipped under the Red Coach label.

TransFresh® also sold “Tectrol Generators” to modify and control atmospheres in apple and tomato fixed controlled atmosphere storage rooms. Ultimately, the over-the-road truck solution did not match the market needs. However, the pallet modified atmosphere solution did show value, as the Tectrol® pallet services was adopted by more shippers.


In 1971, Bruce Church purchased Whirlpool’s share of TransFresh®. In 1973, Bruce Church, Bruce Church Systems, QUALI-SEL, INC. Seeds and TransFresh® were all organized under a single family holding company named Fresh International Corporation.

By 1975, refrigerated rail transportation was declining in favor of over the road trucks. Both the refrigerated sea van and pallet modified atmosphere service segment were growing.


By 1980, TransFresh® had sold its Controlled Atmosphere (”CA”) Storage systems to an Italian company, Semifi-Babcock. The use of rail for transportation of perishables for all practical purposes had ceased. Modified atmosphere services for both the Tectrol® pallet and marine services division continued to grow. The TransFresh® labs also began to turn out solutions which allowed processed salads to be packaged and sold into the food service trade. Throughout the ‘80s. innovative solutions were introduced rapidly across each TransFresh® product line.

In 1989, TransFresh® packaged salad solution led Bruce Church to introduce the Fresh Express retail packaged salads, the first retail processed salads available nationwide. Fresh Express went on lead this new category of packaged salads.


In 1990, TransFresh® introduced the first process controller (“TransFresh CA”) which was capable of reading and controlling atmosphere mixes inside a refrigerated sea vans during the entire ocean transit period. The Tectrol® Pallet Service group introduced new and creative ways to efficiently process pallet units of fresh strawberries.

As the Fresh Express salad business grew rapidly, the TransFresh® division maintained pace selling the core technology services of Tectrol® modified atmosphere pallets and TransFresh® CA controlled atmosphere refrigerated sea vans.


In 2001, the family ownership of the Fresh International Companies opted to sell all companies to Performance Food Group.

In 2005, Performance Food Group decided to sell the same group of companies to Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (“Chiquita”).  Following several productive years, the Cutrale-Safra Group acquired Chiquita Brands and transitioned its holdings to a private investment concern.  Fresh Express and TransFresh® ontinue to operate as wholly owned subsidiaries.

Through today

TransFresh® continues to seek solutions for the perishable industry. The Tectrol® Service Network has introduced working prototypes for fully automated pallet service systems which tailor the specific atmosphere mixture for each pallet unit.

The key to TransFresh® Corporation’s long success is the ability to identify, adapt and provide real solutions that add economic value for the perishable trades. The Tectrol® trademark continues to represent a family of TransFresh® systems and package technologies which used modified atmosphere technologies to preserve the market and storage life of fresh perishables.