The fresh produce packaging company StePacPPC has customized its award-winning modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) films to preserve fresh whole and sliced white mushrooms, and whole exotic mushrooms, such as oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, portabella and more. The lean MAP system fulfills consumer demands for sustainable packaging that slows deterioration and dramatically reduces waste of this highly perishable item.
The appetite for mushrooms has been growing rapidly based on their health halo and being a vegan source of meaty umami flavor and texture. Yet mushrooms also have a very short shelf life. Growers and shippers are constantly grappling with these challenges, striving to improve mushroom storage capabilities and curb waste.
StePacPPC’s MAP packaging personalized to mushroom preservation
StePacPPC’s latest advancement is designed specifically to maintain the freshness of whole and sliced white mushrooms, and whole exotic mushrooms. The customized films significantly slow down decay and reduce weight loss of costly culinary delicacies, preserving texture, nutrition, and flavor thereby effectively diminishing a considerable amount of waste and cost.
“Mushrooms have high metabolic activity and respiration rates which gives them a short shelf life, typically just a few days, generating a lot of moisture during the respiration process, which encourages bacterial decay. They are also prone to dehydration which causes them to shrivel, and they become discolored due to oxidation. Sliced mushrooms are even more susceptible to a rapid decline in quality,” explains Gary Ward, Ph.D., CTO for StePacPPC.
The high water-vapor transmission rate of StePacPPC films, coupled with the customized modified atmosphere properties, have proven ideal for preserving the quality of both whole and sliced mushrooms, at once slowing respiration and aging, reducing dehydration, and expelling excess moisture from the packaging.
“In post-harvest lab and field trials, our films have demonstrated abilities to maintain the freshness and wholesome appearance of mushrooms,” asserts Ward. This effectively stretches their shelf life from just a few days to more than two weeks, generating meaningful reductions in food waste,” says Ward.
StePacPPC’s packaging first demonstrated its potential for mushroom preservation during the Covid pandemic. Oyster mushroom farmers found themselves with backlogs of produce due to logistical standstills. StePacPPC’s Xtend® bulk packaging solutions were instrumental in helping prolong storage in the cold storage, effectively mitigating waste. Since then, the company has developed Xtend bulk packaging solutions for lion’s mane, shiitake and portabella.
The newest Xflow solutions already are gaining momentum in North America, where they are preserving the quality of bulk-packed sliced mushrooms for foodservice outlets such as restaurants and hotels.
“Our highly functional packaging solution has been tailored to dramatically improve inventory management and storability of mushrooms, enabling stakeholders to prolong storage in times of glut and preserve their quality along the supply chain. This, in turn, will boost marketability and consumer experience,” Ward concludes.
Visit StePacPPC in Berlin Hall 5.2, booth C22.