StePac introduces solutions for maintaining pomegranate freshness at every step of the supply chain.
The company has expanded its range to include new recyclable solutions, as well as packaging formats tailored to the automation of both bulk and retail packing. These will be showcased at the upcoming Fruit Logistica in Berlin, February 5-7.
In spite of their tough exterior, whole fresh pomegranates host a range of challenges that arise with prolonged storage. In the absence of proper protection, the fruit can suffer significant dehydration and weight loss, causing it to shrivel. This may be accompanied by the development of skin blemishes and crown decay that eventually leaches into the fruit and impairs the quality and taste of the arils, according to the company.
StePac’s pomegranate packaging portfolio incorporates long storage packaging formats to meet the requirements of growers seeking glut management solutions for post-harvest bulk storage.
Pomegranate growers and packers are now able to load fresh-picked pomegranates directly at the orchard and store up to 400kg of the fruit in each specialized StePac Xtend® bin liner for reported periods of three months or longer, with apparently no negative effect on the fruit. This is in addition to storage liners for weight of 10-80kg that are already widely used in many countries.
The Xtend line also includes unique carton liners that reportedly offer the ideal solution for maintaining fruit quality during the lengthy shipments to distant locations.
StePac developed film structures containing a unique sealing layer that facilitates leaner packaging and, according to the company, induces savings of up to 40% in material use as well as reduced labor costs, by enabling pomegranates to be flow-packed in both bulk and retail formats.
The company recently finalized development of fully recyclable Xgo™ lidding films and standing pouches to add to this category of retail-packaging products. These solutions are designed to inhibit postharvest microbial decay and extend the shelf life of extracted pomegranate arils for up to 17 days, preserving the fruit’s organoleptic properties. The lidding films are available in lean easy peel and resealable formats.
The technology is based on a unique modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) system that reduces respiration rates and ethylene production for a combined effect of slowing down aging and ripening. It also inhibits the proliferation of pathogens.
StePac has developed a repertoire of films with built-in abilities to regulate water-vapor transmission rates as well as provide optimal modified atmosphere conditions. The films incorporate distinct properties to cater to a range of pomegranate packaging applications.
“During prolonged storage of this fruit, it is paramount to strike the perfect balance between eliminating excess free moisture to mitigate the risk of microbial decay and to concurrently avoid excessive product dehydration,” explains Gary Ward, Business Development Manager for StePac. “Such balance depends on multiple synergistic factors, including surface area to volume ratio, produce weight, supply chain length, and shipping and storage conditions.”