StePac, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Johnson Matthey, has developed Xtend polyamide-based packaging technology for blueberries.
Xtend is a customized and multi-layered packaging developed to retain the waxy bloom of blueberries and deliver fruits in wholesome condition.
Designed to safeguard retailers against waste, the Xtend packaging will help customers to extend freshness of blueberries in bulk deliveries to distant destinations.
With a capability to protect blueberries up to 45 days, the new packaging will support growers and exporters who carry out long-haul shipments to far-off countries such as China.
Last November, StePac’s Peruvian distributor Elizabeth Paredes Cruz of Fiamma has connected with various Chinese importers during an arrival evaluation to know about the pertinent quality criteria for blueberries.
The locals are said to give more priority to the appearance of the bloom, which is the natural powdery white wax on the surface of the fruit that offers protection and reduces evaporation. Other factors influencing them are taste and firmness of the fruit.
The new multilayered polyamide-based packaging will regulate relative humidity, in addition to the headspace gas composition.
StePac technical development manager Dr Gary Ward said: This is important, but the advantage of reduced weight loss is outweighed by the disadvantage that condensation will inevitably form and become trapped in the packaging.
“This free moisture is an enemy of the natural bloom and is highly likely to be washed from the surface of the blueberries making it less appealing to the eye and in fact increases the risk of decay.”
The company uses different polymers such as polyethylene with varying WVTR values to help delivery of fresh produce in different packaging formats.
Ward further added: “Custom-designed packaging that provides optimal modified atmosphere and moisture control and ensures that the produce arrives in prime condition requires a thorough understanding of the interaction between the physiology and pathology of fresh produce and its packaging environment.”
StePac also produces Xgo, Xflow and Xbloom modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging solutions, which will help reduce weight loss, slow respiration and aging, and inhibit microbial decay.