Fresh produce packaging that can extend the shelf life of products in ambient conditions, thereby decreasing food waste, remains the focus for Post-Harvest Solutions. The company, founded in Israel in 2004, to provide packaging solutions to the fresh produce sector is known for their Zoepac range of modified atmosphere packaging solutions.
On the left and right bags from Post-Harvest Solutions and in the middle 60 days from green to yellow bananas.
According the Eng. Adham Sabehat, their heavy R&D investment in recent months has paid off as they are going commercially live with a new range of flow pack film. “Our flow pack range allows the benefits of modified atmosphere packaging to extend to retail goods stored in ambient conditions. We are particularly interested in targeting this at SKUs with low rates of sale and high shrinkage or wastage. In addition, we now have a unique packaging solution for table grapes. The traditional sulphur pad and liner can be replaced with our sulphur sachet and modified atmosphere (MA) liner. As a minimum viable product (MVP), we have made the sachet 100% recyclable. We expect the revised design to be fully compostable within a year or two. This format addresses some of the disposal issues the table grape sector has with the sulphur pads, but the beauty is that the combined benefits of MA and SO2 provide enhanced freshness with the potential for longer shelf-life. This interests late varieties where mid to long-term storage is sought,” he explains.
Countering food waste losses
Sabehat says the economic impact of food loss and waste is not confined to quantifiable amounts. “Food shrinkage concerns the erosion of the retail value of food. Examples include mechanical injury, shortened shelf-life and unsold goods. Shrink cuts into profits and drives food waste directly and indirectly as it creates demand for replenished stock. This makes our packaging range a sustainable solution by reducing demand for land and resources. We must first address the estimated 31% global food loss and waste before discussing the need for increasing land brought under agricultural production to feed a burgeoning population,” states Sabehat.
Advice on post-harvest handling
The post-harvest handling, storage, transport and display on retail and wholesale shelves have often been neglected in the past, but this is where most of the losses can occur for producers. Sabehat offer some advice for the industry:
“As a rule of thumb, most post-harvest losses in the Global South occur shortly after harvest, whereas losses tend to be greater with the consumer in the Global North. The challenge is that the chain of custody changes hands several times from when it leaves the producer to when the end consumer receives it. Identifying the pain point in this supply chain is key to ensuring that our packaging solutions are pitched to the right supply chain actor. One of the other challenges is getting potential clients to see the valorisation of the packaging and not just its cost. For example, in many cases, we can reduce moisture loss from 5 to 10%, down to one per cent or lower. More often than not, the saving in weight loss alone more than compensates for the cost of packaging, and that is before the other benefits of maintained freshness and appearance are factored in.”
He says that, as a company, they historically focused on passive modified atmosphere packaging. “This is where the optimum atmospheric regime and relative humidity are established over a short time. An equilibrium in gaseous exchange and relative humidity levels is reached between the product's respiration rate and the film's permeability. More recently, we have enhanced our packaging range with embedded functionality and developed active solutions, where modifications or gases are induced immediately to get enhanced performance. As for our packaging solutions, we cover all commercial products, including fruit, vegetable, leafy herb and greens. In addition, our packaging solutions range from consumer units (retail bag, flow pack) to bulk packaging and pallet shrouds. Biodegradable and compostable formats are commercially available too.”
Post-Harvest Solutions have their primary production in a facility in Israel, with international representation through local agents and distributors. “We are always seeking new agents and distributors, especially in countries where we may not have direct sales. Otherwise, our main focus is on retail solutions,” concludes Sabehat.
For more information:
Eng. Adham Sabehat
Post- Harvest Solutions
Tel: +972 54 6581 454