Technology and unique packaging mean longer shelf-life

Perfotec and Uflex Ltd have joined forces to introduce Flexfresh – a packaging solution that dramatically extends the shelf-life of fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers. Uflex has developed a unique specially patented polymeric packaging film with a high moisture transmission rate. Add Perfotec’s respiration meter and laser perforation system to this and, according to Bas Groeneweg, Director at Perfotec, the end-result “essentially works as a second skin for fresh produce”. An added bonus is that this bag is also 100% biodegradable. Joining Bas Groeneweg was Mr. Natarajan Siva Shankaran, Vice President, Flexfresh at Uflex Ltd.

Bas and Siva were at Fruit Logistica, Berlin, showcased the packaging solution that works on the principle of ‘Modified Atmospheric Packaging’. “The right protective atmosphere is maintained in the pack”, says Bas. “Perforations are designed in a way that keeps the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide at equilibrium inside the pack. This, in turn, reduces the rate of respiration inside the packaging. The ripening process is slowed down, and the product lasts longer. Retailers then get longer shelf life, more sales and less waste.”

“One of the problems with modified atmospheric packaging of 5 or 10 kg bulk products, is that produce ‘breathes’ which results in moisture production”, says Bas. “This is very bad for the products because it leads to the growth of fungus and bacteria.” Flexfresh liner bags keep the product dry and also prevent dehydration, thanks to high humidity levels within the bags.

According to Natarajan Siva Shankaran Natarajan, these bags keep different products fresh for varying amounts of times. “Brussels sprouts stay fresh for 25 days.” The bag achieves this in several ways. Siva says “It promotes the release of carbon dioxide. By controlled breathing and having a high humidity level, there is practically no weight loss. This results in a longer shelf-life.”

He goes on to say that ethylene absorption is also no longer an issue. “The high level of humidity means the rate of ethylene released is naturally reduced”, Bas says that in some cases, they still need to apply an ethylene scavenger to remove the last traces of ethylene. “This helps to extend the products’ shelf-life further”, he says. “Generally the bag works without any ethylene scavengers”, adds Siva.

“One of the biggest developments has been done for flowers”, says Siva. “We collaborated with and the Dutch Flower Group. We have a waterless solution which allows flowers to be delivered straight to your house from the company through a normal courier because it does not need any water in the supply chain. There is a completely automated flower packaging plant in the Netherlands. Flowers can stay fresh for almost 20 days without water in the correct storage conditions.” adds Siva.

Bas says, “The packaging market for fresh produce is characterized by the customer’s need to get the best possible protection for the product. It is a very challenging market. They consider packaging to be insurance for their products.”

“Packaging is much more than just packaging. It is the final step in bringing the product they have grown to their end-customer in absolutely good condition. Sometimes over a great distance or long travelling times, without appropriate packaging protection, the fresh produce is spoiled. Retailers and Customers are both looking for freshness. That is what we can offer, and that is where we, with our combined technology, set ourselves apart from the competition”, concluded Bas and Siva.

For more information:
Rohit Sharma
Uflex Limited (India)
Phone: +91-120-4012345 (Extension: 339)
Fax: +91-120-2556040 | +91-120-4012363
Mobile: +91-9910300187

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