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'Grab-N’-Go' Xtend® packed produce attractive option for consumersTen years ago, you couldn’t find any asparagus packed in modified atmosphere packaging in retail stores in the United States or Canada and the industry was oriented towards bunched asparagus.
At that time, StePac’s focus was mainly on bulk modified atmosphere packaging products. Wholesale retailers and major club stores, eager for a retail packaging solution for extending the shelf life of fresh green asparagus and reducing wastage in the supply chain challenged StePac's R&D team to develop a solution. StePac’s team of polymer engineers, post-harvest specialists and technical team on the ground joined heads and worked together to create a range of retail products that over the years have been optimized to meet the customer’s needs as far as presentation and performance are concerned.
Today, Xtend® retail packaging for green asparagus (Fig. 1) has become a convenient and attractive option for consumers to just 'grab-n’-go'. The packaging protects produce, thereby reducing food safety risks, and more importantly it comprises a technology that helps the produce last longer and fresher.
Xtend® Retail Packaging Performance
High quality green asparagus packed in Xtend® under disciplined postharvest handling protocols and good cold chain (0-2˚C) can often be kept for in excess of 28 days with no signs of decay, feathering, butt drying, or dehydration. This is on account of a proprietary polymer blend that is designed to provide the optimum modified atmosphere for green asparagus, thereby slowing down physiological processes, inhibiting decay and preserving freshness for longer. The polymer also effectively manages condensation, and so further alleviating the risk of decay.
The first bagged asparagus program was initiated by a major club store in the United States who succeeded in reducing their wastage by more than 5% when moving from non-bagged to bagged Xtend® packaged asparagus and sales increased. Soon after, their competitors quickly followed suit making retail packaging common place in North America. When using retail packaging, everybody wins: growers get paid for what they ship, stores minimize their losses, and consumers benefit from a more convenient product.
Xtend® Packaging Maintains Produce Nutrition
It is important to note that Xtend® Packaging has a positive impact in maintaining produce nutritional value particularly for vitamins A and C. When produce freshness is prolonged by slowing down physiological processes, the nutritional content of the produce is also preserved for longer. StePac has shown that at any moment in time, broccoli packed in Xtend® modified atmosphere packaging has higher levels of the water soluble compounds, vitamin C, A and potassium than broccoli stored in ice.
Since the development and successful marketing of retail packaging for green asparagus, StePac has subsequently customized retail packaging solutions for other produce items, including white asparagus, green beans, sugar snaps and snow peas (Fig. 2). Many of these products have gained considerable success in shipments from Central America to North America and all assist in maintaining freshness, nutrition and reducing wastage in the supply chain.
Lately, StePac is developing packaging for fresh cut vegetables such as cut lettuce cabbage, carrots and the like which is gaining commercial success in South America.
For more information:
Tel: +972 (0)4 6123514
Fax: +972 (0)4 9872946
Publication date: 5/12/2014
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