An innovative fruit packaging solution which incorporates shelf-life extending technology from Sirane has shown significant shelf-life extension with punnets of cut fruit.
Sirane has been working alongside Italian firm Ilip in creating a complete packaging system – Life+ - which was unveiled at Fruit Logistica in Berlin at the start of the year and has since been shown at a number of fruit trade shows and conferences around Europe.
Karl Heggarty, Sirane sales manager for fresh produce packaging, said: “Life+ offers shelf-life extension by combining various elements into one complete packaging solution, including the anti-mist punnet tray, packaging films and absorbent technology.“We offer the absorbency, with options including anti-bacterial and ethylene absorbency, both of which can have a positive impact on the shelf-life of soft and delicate fruits.
“During recent independently-run trials, portions of cut fruit - apples, pineapples, kiwi and melon – was receiving an additional two to four days shelf-life using Life+ when compared with standard tray and films, which would make a huge difference to retailers.”
The trials were run by the University of Turin, and commissioned by Ilip.
Karl added: “This particular trial was run using anti-bacterial fruit pads in the Life+ system. The report concluded that Life+ creates a micro-atmosphere in the pack, regulating the respiration rates of the fruits, and that it helps maintain the fruit’s texture.
“It also adds that Life+ reduces drip and subsequent microbial contamination, and also that the Life+ packaging system helps the fruit maintain a higher vitamin C content.”
Life+ was recently awarded the prestigious gold award at Macfrut - a popular international produce exhibition show, was held in Rimini, Italy, from May 10-12. The Macfrut gold medal, awarded by the L’Informatore Agrario and Cesena Fiera, is awarded by a jury of industry experts for the most significant technical innovations in terms of environmental and economic sustainability and improvement in product quality.
Case studies relating to other fruits show similar benefits to the cut-fruit. With grapes, the system prevents wilting and delays fungal growth, while maintaining flavour, while with mushrooms it has been shown to maintain whiteness and prevent discolouration.
Meanwhile with berries, it has been show to slow-down ripening, delay the detachment of berries from their stalks, and help delay fungal growth on the surface of the fruit.
Roberto Zanichelli, Ilip sales and marketing director, said: ““Life+ has been gathering substantial positive reactions from our partners and from the sector in general.
“This is proof of the impact our project will have on product shelf life and on the maintenance of freshness when it comes to delicate products, such as berries, strawberries, cherry-tomatoes and grapes, on which tests have been very successful.”Sirane manufactures a range of fruit packaging solutions, including absorbent pads, cushioned fruit pads, anti-bacterial pads and pads with ethylene absorbency.
Simon Balderson, Sirane MD, said: “The success of the trials using ABV (anti-bacterial pads) is not a surprise to us. Many companies have tried to deliver anti-microbial packaging, but this is an effective way of delivering the technology from within the pack right to the heart of the problem. It’s a brilliant solution that makes a real and tangible difference.”Sirane’s Dri-Fresh ABV pads contain a blend of natural bio-flavonoids and organic acids which work together to naturally enhance the fruit’s own protective defences. Combined with the absorbency within the pad, they offer an outstanding level of protection.
The technology can be supplied as standard absorbent pads or incorporated into our Dri-Fresh Soft-Hold pads – absorbent cushioned pads which prevent damage to soft-fruit during transportation. The technology is activated by moisture – functioning only when needed.
Simon Balderson added: “Shelf-life extension within fruit, particularly the soft-fruit world, is a big deal throughout the industry, just a few extra days can make a big difference.
“Soft-fruit has a short-shelf-life, meaning additional shelf-life is very valuable. It has little in the way of protective skin, so is vulnerable to fungal and bacterial degradation. As it is soft it is also vulnerable to damage during transportation – which can often be a long way.
“This is a completely natural solution to those problems that is very effective. What we’re doing is effectively taking the fruit’s own natural defence mechanism and supplying it when needed in a concentrated form. The results so far have proven to be very impressive.
“The combination of flavonoids which are anti-oxidants and anti-microbial, with organic acids including citric acid and ascorbic acids is harmless, as all elements are found naturally within fruit. It is clean, simple, and effective. Nature itself often has the answers.
“This complements our existing shelf-life extending technologies, including absorbent.”