A prominent European Retail Chain recently conducted a litmus trial with FlexfreshTM liner bags by shipping blueberries from South America to Europe. This journey usually takes more than five weeks by sea. The results have been MORE THAN ASTOUNDING! While the loose blueberries resulted in an average weight loss of 19.96%, those packed in FlexfreshTM shed merely 0.76% weight after a period of seven weeks, thus registering a phenomenal 96% reduction in weight loss upon arrival.
Notably FlexfreshTM works on the principle of Active Modified Atmospheric Packaging (AMAP) – a solution that Uflex has launched globally in collaboration with the Perfotec B.V of The Netherlands. While FlexfreshTM is a special patent protected polymeric packaging film manufactured by Uflex for packing fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers; Perfotec supplies the Fast Respiration meter for ascertaining the respiration rate of the fresh produce and the associated software for calculating the required film permeability. The Perfotec laser system subsequently uses this information to adapt the permeability of the film offered by Uflex through micro perforations. This solution maintains the ideal Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide inside the liner bags to maintain freshness and extend shelf life of the product.
In the recently held trials, the objective of the retail chain was to ascertain if it was possible to ship and store the soft fruit (blueberry) for seven weeks in a Flexfresh™ liner bag. The blueberries were packed in punnets with and without FlexfreshTM liner bags. In a separate lot, loose blueberries were packed with and without FlexfreshTM liner bags. After seven weeks the blueberries in the liner bags were found to be good, firm, crunchy and tasty. However those packed in a controlled ambience had most of them collapsed and mouldy.
The results also established that pre-packing itself is not enough as it can address the issue of weight loss but not quality. Punnets with and without liner bags resulted in 0.76% and 2.56% weight loss respectively. Both these figures are significantly lower than the 19.96% weight loss registered in case of loose blueberries. The punnets that were not using liner bag still showed the same quality problems like mouldy blueberries.
Upon successfully testing Flexfresh™ liner bags for sea freight of blueberries Mr. N. Siva Shankaran Vice President, Flexfresh™ at Uflex Limited said:
This test indeed is quite a feat and has instilled a lot of faith in our Flexfresh™ packaging solution. More business queries are flowing in. The recent trials have successfully established a shelf life of 7 weeks for the soft fruit without using sulphur pads that cause irritation while consuming. The European Retailer is confident that Flexfresh™ Liner bags for blueberries from the Southern Hemisphere would be used for all shipments in a short span of time. Supplying blueberries by sea will significantly bring down the logistical costs for the importer. It is a clear win-win both for the exporters in South America and the importers in Europe thereby boosting the trade prospects on the whole.
Expressing delight over the successful trials of FlexfreshTM for blueberries, Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman & Managing Director, Uflex Limited said:
Our association with Perfotec B.V. for bringing contemporary Active Modified Atmospheric Packaging Solution to the world is graining traction by the days. More and more product trials are taking place. The success rates are encouraging. I would like to congratulate and thank the engineers both at Uflex and Perfotec for their unrelenting efforts to bring such an effective packaging solution that is already calling the shots in the global fresh produce sector.