StePac develops blueberry packaging

2 Jan 2019

StePac has developed customized, proprietary, polyamide-based packaging technology for ensuring long-lasting freshness in bulk deliveries of blueberries to distant destinations.

StePac develops blueberry packaging

StePac has developed customized, proprietary, polyamide-based packaging technology for ensuring long-lasting freshness in bulk deliveries of blueberries to distant destinations. The new multi-layered packaging, which is the outcome of several years R&D is said to ensure this high value fruit arrives in wholesome condition, with its natural protective bloom intact.

The Xtend packaging solution enhances the consumer experience and safeguards retailers against waste. This resolves the common challenge faced by growers and exporters (mainly from Chile and Peru) who conduct long-haul shipments to faraway countries, such as China — a leading consumer of blueberries. The result is that blueberries shipped in Xtend packaging arrive at destination, even after 35 days, with the full freshness reaped upon harvesting.

Last November, during an arrival evaluation, Elizabeth Paredes Cruz of Fiamma, StePac’s Peruvian distributor, interacted with various Chinese importers to understand what the locals consider to be the pertinent quality criteria for blueberries. Highest on their priority list was the appearance of the “bloom”– the natural powdery white wax on the surface of the fruit which innately protects the fruit and reduces evaporation. Second was the taste and the third most important criterion was firmness of the fruit.

StePac's breathable, multilayered polyamide-based Xtend packaging is designed to not only regulate headspace gas composition, but also relative humidity. This significantly reduces the risk of condensation build-up and ensures that any condensation that might form within the packaging diffuses out.

According to Gary Ward, Ph.D., Technical Development Manager for StePac, blueberries are often packed in polyethylene-based modified atmosphere packaging which minimizes weight loss due to its very low water vapour transmission rate (WVTR). “This is important, but the advantage of reduced weight loss is outweighed by the disadvantage that condensation will inevitably form and become trapped in the packaging. This free moisture is an enemy of the natural bloom and is highly likely to be washed from the surface of the blueberries making it less appealing to the eye and in fact increases the risk of decay.”

“The preservation of natural bloom is a far more important parameter than slightly lower weight loss,” notes Ward. “It is the outward indicator of freshness and translates into higher prices for blueberries in the Chinese market.” Sources from within the industry disclosed that at the time of the visit, Peruvian fruit with high bloom arriving in Xtend packaging were typically sold for prices reaching RMB160-200 per carton of 12 clamshells, in comparison to RMB100-120 per carton of 12 clamshells for fruit with less bloom arriving in polyethylene packaging.

StePac uses a wide range of polymers with varying WVTR values, including polyethylene, for the delivery of fresh produce in different packaging formats. “Custom-designed packaging that provides optimal modified atmosphere and moisture control and ensures that the produce arrives in prime condition requires a thorough understanding of the interaction between the physiology and pathology of fresh produce and its packaging environment,” adds Ward. “. Polyethylene-based packaging solutions are suitable for certain produce items and applications, but are an inferior solution for bulk shipment of blueberries.”

Related categories

Related tags

Innovation

Related news

Arla creates new innovation organisation, hires new SVP

Arla creates new innovation organisation, hires new SVP

18 Jan 2019

Arla Foods is creating a new Product and Innovation organisation and appointing a new Senior Vice President, driven by the desire to strengthen its innovation and global product agenda.

Read more 
Mintel: four trends for restaurants in 2019

Mintel: four trends for restaurants in 2019

17 Jan 2019

Mintel believes the foodservice landscape will evolve, driven by increased awareness around social and environmental responsibility and innovation in technology-enabled customer service.

Read more 
Mintel partners with Cipher on patent analysis

Mintel partners with Cipher on patent analysis

15 Jan 2019

Mintel has announced that it now has access to the most advanced patent analysis available in the food and drink and beauty and personal care industries, through its new partnership with Cipher.

Read more 
IFF establishes collaboration agreement with Aryballe

IFF establishes collaboration agreement with Aryballe

10 Jan 2019

International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) has established an industry-exclusive collaboration with digital olfaction technology company Aryballe, based in Grenoble, France.

Read more 
Chobani enters plant-based market

Chobani enters plant-based market

10 Jan 2019

Chobani has launched the company's first-ever plant-based recipe Non-Dairy Chobani. Starting this month, Chobani is rolling out nine new Non-Dairy Chobani cultured organic coconut products that will be available throughout the USA.

Read more 
Firmenich: hibiscus will be the flavour of 2019

Firmenich: hibiscus will be the flavour of 2019

4 Jan 2019

Firmenich has announced hibiscus as “Flavour of the Year” for 2019 based on the growing appeal of florals in food and drink, and the trend towards curiosity in consumption.

Read more 
Herza launches chocolate couverture pieces

Herza launches chocolate couverture pieces

21 Dec 2018

Herza is launching small chocolate couverture pieces made from specific fine organic cocoa varieties. These, it says, will enable manufacturers of sweets and bakery products, ice cream or cereals to benefit from the 'adventurous consumer' trend.

Read more 
DuPont study: hope for overweight consumers

DuPont study: hope for overweight consumers

20 Dec 2018

Read more 
Ingredion investment in plant protein reaches $140 million

Ingredion investment in plant protein reaches $140 million

19 Dec 2018

Ingredion has announced several steps to accelerate production of plant-based proteins globally. The combined $140 million of strategic investments will, it says, further position the company with an expanded, broad range of plant-based protein soluti...

Read more 
Mintel identifies three trends for 2019

Mintel identifies three trends for 2019

15 Nov 2018

Mintel has announced three forward-looking trends which it believes will lead the momentum of global food and drink innovation in 2019 and beyond.

Read more