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Eddie Clarijs, Unipak:
“New packaging absorbs fruit juice and extends shelf life”
Strawberries, tomatoes or raspberries are juicy products. It can be difficult to find a suitable packaging for these products because of that juiciness. Unipak from Steenbergen, the Netherlands, has produced a new packaging that can absorb the fruit juice like a sponge, as it were.
The packaging produced by Unipak absorbs the juice the way a sponge would. Because of that, the fruit’s shelf life is extended by a few days, according to the producer. Unipak produces the product by order of Pulltic.
“The condensation or the fruit juice is absorbed by the packaging itself,” says Eddie Clarijs from Unipak. “It’s not that it could absorb an entire swimming pool. The bottom ensure the product stays dry. That way, we can extend the fruit’s shelf life.”
Packaging for produce
The packaging is currently used to keep vitamin powder dry, for example. In the future, Eddie is planning to also market the moisture-absorbing packaging in the fruit world. The company is now testing how the punnets can be used in combination with fruit.
“On average, various tests show the fruit’s shelf life is extended by three days,” he says. “We actually came to five days, but it naturally depends on the products in the punnets. We tested the trays with beefsteak tomatoes, but apples or strawberries would react completely differently. Because condensation or fruit juices are absorbed by the sponge, we at least managed to extend shelf life. The packaging removes the moisture from, for example, sweating tomatoes without making the packaging weaker.”
Although the packaging is initially promoted in the fruit world, they can also be used for vegetables, according to Eddie. “We make different types of punnets, so we also have suitable sizes for vegetables,” he continues. “We haven’t tested the punnets with vegetables yet, but if someone near our branch wanted to try that with us, it would be fantastic. We’re open to also entering the vegetable sector, in any case.”
According to Eddie, the trays are cream-coloured, but customers can choose from different colours in addition to the various sizes. “Because we use natural colouring, we can only use natural colours,” he says. “Gold-coloured is tricky, but colours such as green, red, yellow, blue, you name it: we’ll make it.”
The packaging absorbs the moisture of the tomatoes.
The packaging is made from plastic that is 100 per cent recyclable, according to Eddie. It is usually produced without a lid, but if desired by the customer, it’s possible to also manufacture a lid. “If it has a lid, we’d recommend a PLA-film top seal,” he says. “These are made from corn starch, so that the entire packaging, including the punnet, would be industrially compostable. Even if the products aren’t sold, it could be fermented into energy, punnet and all.”
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Publication date: 11/1/2017
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