One of the key pomelo suppliers to Europe, Onedayone Group, sent its first waxed pomelo shipment of the year from Xiamen, China on September 8. This marks a significant milestone as the company's third consecutive year providing these citrus fruits with sustainable packaging to the market.
For years, the majority exports of honey pomelos from China have been coated with plastic film, to protect the peels from damage during transport on the sea. It also helps to keep moisture inside of the fruit.
As plastic pollution has increasingly concerned the world, a growing number of Chinese pomelo suppliers are taking proactive measures to eliminate plastic usage within their supply chain.
"Going plastic-free is an ambitious objective, yet it is a non-negotiable one for us as well. Every fruit and vegetable company feels the urgency to address this challenge. I want to express our gratitude to our customers and partners, whose support has enabled us to experiment with and implement the application of wax coating on our pomelos," said Mr. Lan Bilong, the General Manager of Onedayone Group Zhangzhou.
Onedayone Group worked with Citrosol, a European company focusing on technology and post-harvest treatments for fruit and vegetables, this collaboration successfully retained the pomelo's flavor and aroma, minimized skin imperfections, and prevented moisture intrusion by replacing the plastic film with wax coating.
While wax coating is commonly used for citrus fruits like mandarins and oranges, adapting the process to pomelos posed unique technical challenges due to their substantial size. "Every facet of storage and transportation had to be considered; temperature, humidity. We invested a considerable amount of time in conducting various tests to simulate diverse environmental conditions, determining the optimal storage conditions for wax-coated pomelos. The dosage, application method, and drying time for each pomelo demanded much attention. This is a significant advancement for a traditional pomelo packhouse," Mr. Lan explained.
In addition to technological hurdles, pomelo suppliers face market-related challenges. "As with any innovation, the market approaches new processes cautiously. This year marks the third year of launching this packaging, and wax-coated pomelos constitute a relatively modest portion of our business. However, we hold a strong confidence that we are on the right track, and consumer acceptance is only a matter of time," Mr. Lan asserted.
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