Johnson Matthey UK's subsidiary StePac has introduced a new Xflow functional packaging for blueberries to reduce waste and cut costs.
Alternative to traditional preformed bulk packaging, the Xflow is a patented, functional and flowpack solution for blueberries.
The company has developed Xflow to reduce waste through the supply chain, save labor costs and use leaner plastic packaging.
According to the company, blueberries in clamshells are manually pre-packed and sealed in modified atmosphere packaging, which is a labor-intensive packing process.
StePac technical development manager Gary Ward said: “Xflow is a next-gen automatic package that saves time and money while reducing the amount of plastic used by up to 40%.”
Xflow aggregates the modified atmosphere/modified humidity (MA/MH) properties of Xtend packaging in a film that is also composed of a unique sealing layer, turning it compatible with conventional flow pack machines.
StePac has partnered with an Italian machine manufacturing company Delfin for custom-designed and developed machines for Xflow packaging.
The 12 Clamshells are transported on a conveyor belt into the flowpack machine with the Xflow system for wrapping with the Xflow film. They will be sealed before being placed in the carton.
Xflow will help enhance horizontal airflow across the cartons, which is crucial for efficient cooling and cold-chain management.
The functional packaging also extends the freshness of fruits, vegetables and flowers by offering the MA/MH feature, which delays respiration, aging, and inhibits microbial growth. It will also decrease dehydration and weight loss during storage and shipping.
The customized water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) of the film offer optimal moisture control for packaged produce across the supply chain, enabling to reduce free moisture and the risk of microbial decay.
Ward further added: “We specifically developed this packaging solution to help Peruvian exporters attain more efficient automatic packaging for blueberries.
The company will showcase the new functional packaging for blueberries at the upcoming PMA Fresh Summit Expo in Orlando, which will take place from 19 to 20 October.
StePac produces Xtend, Xgo, Xflow and Xbloom modified atmosphere/modified humidity packaging solutions, which will help reduce weight loss, slow respiration and aging, and inhibit microbial decay.