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FRESHSAFE from MULTIVAC: Shelf life improvement for fruit and vegetables with suitable packaging technology

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Basic knowledge: metabolic processes with fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are living products. These products need oxygen to live. This is because their metabolism remains active even after harvesting. The two most important processes in this are respiration and transpiration. In the case of respiration or breathing, the plants absorb oxygen and give off carbon dioxide, water and heat. In the case of transpiration, which also takes place during the growth process as well as after harvesting, they only absorb oxygen. The consequences are ripening, fermentation, discoloration and then finally spoilage due to decay of the cellular structure, as well as the growth of mould and other undesirable microorganisms.

The ripening gas, ethylene, is one of the materials, which can accelerate the ripening process - and it presents a particular challenge not only in the processing and packaging procedures but also for the consumer at home. It is absorbed as the gaseous phytohormone, ethene, and it stimulates the ripening of fruit by converting stored enzymes into sugar and energy. This means that the fruit becomes sweet but also soft. Ethylene is gaseous and has a stimulating effect on other food in the vicinity.

Many fruits and vegetables basically respire more quickly and can therefore spoil more rapidly. Others respire more slowly and can therefore be kept longer by themselves. The frequency of respiration is however different - and also depends on the season, environmental temperature, region or time of harvesting. Even within the same product variety.

As a basic principle, whole and undamaged products can generally be kept longer than cut product. In the case of vegetables and salads, and in particular with ready-to-eat or cook assortments, which are the focus of current trends, the risk of microbial spoilage is many times higher, because the protective layer, such as the skin for example, is missing from the interface of the product with the atmosphere. Depending on the product variety, harvesting conditions and degree of ripening as well as the processing, packaging material and packaging technology, there can very quickly arise the onset of discoloration, mould and liquid accumulation, even before the best-before date has expired.

Present and future: Challenging requirements in the market
Food producers and the industry generally, as well as packers, exporters, importers and retailers, face the challenge therefore of finding the best available packaging technology, machines and materials, which can be used to improve the shelf life and quality of the delicate products that can spoil so quickly - and by doing so, they can contribute to optimum food safety and maximum consumer protection.

Packaging machine manufacturers are permanently faced with the task of developing needs-based and state-of-the-art solutions for the market, which are able to create a reliable and economical packaging procedure by achieving the optimum pack result for every product. All those involved in the process chain - as well as consumers - bear the responsibility for handling resources sparingly, protecting the environment and stemming food waste, which is now running worldwide at around 1.3 billion tons per year. In the case of fruit and vegetables, it is as much as 40 to 55 percent of the cultivated crop - in other words, almost half of all cultivated products spoil and can not be used.

Read more about Fresh Safe in the attached Link.

Exhibitor

MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG

MULTIVAC Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG

Exhibitor

Exhibitor profile

MULTIVAC is one of the leading providers worldwide of packaging solutions for food products of all types, life science and healthcare products, as well as industrial items. The MULTIVAC portfolio covers virtually all requirements of processors and producers in terms of pack design, output and resource efficiency. It comprises a wide range of packaging technologies as well as automation solutions, labellers and quality control systems. The product range is rounded off with portioning and processing solutions upstream of the packaging process. Thanks to extensive expertise in packaging lines, all modules can be integrated into complete solutions. This means that MULTIVAC solutions guarantee a high level of operational and process reliability as well as efficiency. The MULTIVAC Group has approximately 5,900 employees worldwide, with some 2,200 based at its headquarters in Wolfertschwenden. With over 80 subsidiaries, the Group is represented on all continents. More than 1,000 sales advisors and service technicians throughout the world use their know-how and experience to the benefit of customers, and they ensure that all installed MULTIVAC machines are utilised to their maximum. Further information can be found at: www.multivac.com.

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