Improving the Shelf Life of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (Part 03)

The last part of this article (click for part 01 and part 02) is dedicated to packaging of soft fruit. Berries are not produced in a factory; they are grown outside in a dynamic biological environment. The farmers’ challenge is to work with nature, using years of experience and know-how to get the very best out of each berry plant. The second challenge is to get the berries in optimum condition on the consumer’s table. As a consequence fruit growers have been looking for effectively packaging soft fruits. Here are four examples how that can be achieved.

Sirane’s Resolve absorbent pad
UK based Sirane developed a proprietary technology to produce a structure which combines a bio-polymeric micro-porous surface with a cellulosic core all bonded without the use of glues.

The Dri-Fresh Resolve is a bio-degradable and bio-compostable absorbent food pad, which offers cushioning with absorbency, excellent surface presentation and a variety of colours which help to enhance the produce. The Dri-Fresh Resolve is certified to EN:13432.

The potential decrease in rejections from the end user is predominantly due to the pads absorbent properties aided by its microscopic surface perforation to ensure effective air circulation around the produce.

SPS punnet crystal clear product visibility
For the start of the new growing season UK based Sharp Interpack, which is in the process of being acquired by French company Guillin, unveiled on its stand at Fruit Logistica, SPS ‘Air’, typified as a breath of fresh air in packaging. The “revolutionary” ventilation system for the new soft fruit punnet reduces condensation by 20% to help extend shelf life.

The new soft fruit punnet offers significant air flow improvements over conventional punnets. The base allows for superior transpiration through lateral vents permitting the soft fruit to breathe more easily and therefore aiding fruit conservation. The vents are sloping at the base, which allows for unimpeded airflow even when the punnets are stacked. Further there is no risk of debris entering the tray from punched holes. The punnets have an uninterrupted product view lengthways with ribs at the corners for extra stability in rigorous pack house and logistical environments.

The SPS Air will initially be available in depths of 85mm and 60mm, although the company said it has plans to also produce a 70mm version.

The SPS punnets are made from up to 80% recycled PET containing approved post consumer waste from the European and UK waste stream. This is sourced from recycled cola and mineral water bottles that are re-ground, super-washed and approved for direct food contact.

The packs can be heat-sealed or lidded. Lids can be stacked for automatic de-nesting which facilitates automatic lifting of the lids from the stacks.

NGP’s Bi-Colour partitioned punnet
NGP Plastic, situated in Corinth, Greece and holding a leading position both on the Greek and the Balkan markets, introduced its new innovative product, EasyPack Line Black and Transparent. The EasyPack Black and Transparent was nominated for the Fruit Logistica 2010 Innovation Award.

Easypack Black and Transparent offers the possibility of having two different colours for the lid and the bottom in the same single-piece clamshell pack. This means it can satisfy the trend towards multi-colour packs for the effective presentation of fresh produce while at the same time avoiding the disadvantages of separate lids and bottoms.

The use of a contrasting second colour means that fresh fruit and vegetable products – such as tomatoes, grapes, cherries and berries with a strong natural colour – can be presented more attractively and effectively in the retail outlet.

Available in a wide range of shapes and sizes for weights from 250g to 2kg, single-piece clamshells can, according to NGP Plastic, save up to 15 per cent in logistic and transport costs.
Thanks to Easypack production consistency, the lid is very easily applied on the basket, while the tightly locked lid assures no intermediate contact of the packaged product from the producer to the final consumer. Both above characteristics also help eliminate the danger of product damage.

The new product made with horizontal or vertical partition foil, is suitable for strawberries, grapes, baby tomatoes, cherries, among others.

Driscoll’s 6-packs
The launch of Sharpack’s small berry punnets, in two depths, 50 and 35 mm with available lid and made from r-APET with up to 60% post consumer waste content, provides parents with the ideal solution to introduce a healthy, balanced lunch for their children. The snack-box size, as instant dessert and easily stored in a refrigerator, is a convenient inclusion in any children’s school lunchbox.

Driscoll’s of Europe followed the lead. In order to be even more flexible towards their clients Driscoll’s of Europe are offering a new packing unit for their raspberries and blackberries. In addition to the traditional 8 x 125 gr or the 12 x 125 gr they now also have a 6 x 125 gr box. This new packing takes up less space and offers shops the possibility to put 2 Driscoll boxes in the space of one normal box for instance during the low season.

Postscript
So far the results of Fruit Logistica 2010, which underscore its position as a leading global trade fair for the fresh produce sector with a comprehensive overview of the market, attracting the presence of all key decision makers in the industry, and a record number of exhibitors and visitors. Although packaging was not dominating the fair, it was interesting to see new innovations in a very difficult packaging segment, that fresh produce is.

Remember: The developed world chucks out a lot of food. Such is the volume that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), if just 5 percent of Americans’ food scraps were recovered it would represent one day’s worth of food for 4 million people.
Packaging Technology might be able to reduce that waste.

100115 – 100118

One response to “Improving the Shelf Life of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (Part 03)

  1. Please not that films made from Polymethylpentene (Mitsui TPX) exhibit good oxygen transmission, extend the shelf life for fresh vegetables and fruits and still keep fungi and bacteria away from the content!

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