Do you know that more than 40% of fruit and vegetable produce is disposed of during the harvest, storage, handling, transportation, processing, and distribution stages? One of the reasons for these losses is the wrong type of packaging used. Packaging materials that are commonly used to pack fresh fruits and vegetables are sacks and bamboo baskets. Such packaging affects the quality of the produce, causing food to:
- Grow bacteria, yeast, and mould
- Experience an increase in food enzymes
- Have an Infestation of insects, parasites, and rodents
- Loss of moisture
- React with oxygen
These adverse consequences inevitably affect the quality, colour, texture, and food safety of the fruits and vegetables, resulting in a loss of total profit. The packaging material used to pack these fruits and vegetables should be of high quality to minimise such losses.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)
Have you ever heard of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) for fruits and vegetables? It boasts the ability to bring about better product quality and freshness, extending the shelf life of fresh produce. Fruits and vegetables continue the respiration process even after being harvested. Oxygen is consumed continuously, and carbon dioxide and water vapour are produced, resulting in negative consequences.
When using the MAP, oxygen and carbon dioxide can pass inside and outside the package so that oxygen consumed within the pack is replaced by the oxygen outside; similarly, a constant level of carbon dioxide is maintained. This creates a balance, an equilibrium. The MAP also slows down moisture loss and the natural production of ethylene gas released by the fruits or vegetables, therefore retarding the ripening process.
Temperature control is another factor to look at as high temperatures cause respiration. The respiration rate of fruits and vegetables is highly influenced by temperature. If both temperature and packaging are at an optimum point, the ageing of fruits and vegetables can be slowed down to more than 800%. Therefore, temperature control should also be considered as part of the MAP.
With MAP, waste can significantly be reduced, and freshness and quality of fresh produce can be achieved. It also provides proper packaging that prevents an infestation of insects, parasites, and moulds. MAP can be used for bulk liners, preformed retail packaging, roll stock for flow pack application, and film forms in rolls.
Should you want to find out more, click here to see other effective food packages that we offer.