StePac’s packaging improves supply chain of vegetables

StePac’s new MA/MH (Modified Atmosphere/Modified Humidity Packaging) technology has improved food safety and environmental rewards for the long-haul transport of fresh broccoli and other vegetables.

The Xtend Iceless MA/MH bulk packaging technology eliminates the need for ice and non-recyclable wax cartons in the cold supply chain. It also provides cost savings in packaging (up to 40%) and transport expenses and is fully recyclable.

In countries such as the US, broccoli and other produce items are typically packed in waxed cartons filled with ice to keep the produce cool and maintain freshness during storage and shipment. However, when the ice melts onto the produce it not only creates a mess but encourages growth of both plant and human pathogens. Waxed cartons also are non-recyclable.

“Xtend Iceless offers a dry — and much leaner and greener — means of transporting fresh produce, wholly eliminating the need for ice,” said Gary Ward, business development manager for StePac.

“Moreover, it makes waxed cartons totally unnecessary. Xtend Iceless MA/MH packaging is fully recyclable and offers an affordable solution suitable for land or sea freight. The packaging is ‘climate positive’, generating a net savings in carbon emissions as a result of significantly extending the shelf life of fresh produce and reducing supply chain waste. It’s a ‘win-win’ for all.

“An alarming 40% to 50% of food is lost post-harvest due largely to spoilage in transit.”

According to the Food & Agriculture Organisation, 1.3 billion tons of food worldwide is wasted annually, a vast majority of which perishes before ever reaching the consumer.

“We developed a solution that enables the broccoli to be field-packed in Xtend packaging and then forced air and/or vacuum cooled in the sealed packaging. This seamlessly integrates the packaging into the existing packing process,” said Ward. The system is patented in the US and Mexico.

Research has demonstrated the ability of Xtend Iceless packaging to significantly slow down the growth of micro-organisms on broccoli, effectively abating produce deterioration and reducing the risk of food-borne illness associated with human pathogens such as E. coli.

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