Nowadays, there is increased demand for plant-based food as more people are switching to vegan and vegetarian diets. So, supermarkets and grocery stores are ensuring that customers are getting an uninterrupted supply of fresh produce like fruits and vegetables. One of the major issues in this regard is their shelf life because they are perishable goods. Remember that, hundreds of millions of tons of food are wasted globally because fresh produce is not handled properly during their transportation. In this article, we will look at methods to increase the shelf life of fresh produce.
What Is The Importance Of Increasing The Shelf Life Of Fresh Produce?
Listed below are the benefits of improving shelf life:
- Better quality fruits and vegetables
- Better brand reputation
- Fewer food wastes
- Reduction in rejected shipments
- Increased margins
What Are The Different Methods For Increasing The Shelf Life Of Fresh Produce?
Improvements In Packaging And Modified-Atmosphere Packaging (MAP): Improving packaging is the easiest way for extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. There is shelf life-extending packaging that can control ripening, respiration, and slow down microbial growth.
In modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), the gases that surround the fresh produce are controlled. For example, it limits the oxygen surrounding the fruit, which helps to prolong shelf life. Also, certain carton containers, pallet covers, and sheets can help with controlling ethylene. Furthermore, MAP is employed in the packing of plant-based milk because it is easily spoiled.
Improving Handling Procedures And Treatment: Remember that proper handling of fresh produce is important for extending its shelf life. For example, subjecting them to excessive force can cause minor damages. This can be avoided by sticking to standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Fruits and vegetables must be treated and handled properly from the moment they are harvested. This ensures that they are not harmed and helps to increase their shelf life. Also, keep in mind that poor treatment methods like using contaminated water for cleaning and storing in contaminated or poor-quality boxes can significantly reduce the shelf life of fresh produce.
Spotting Temperature Variation In The Cold Chain: Low temperature can help to slow down microbial growth and limit decay. So, any compromise in the cold chain between harvesting and consumers can shorten the shelf life of fresh produce. This is avoided to a certain extent by recording the temperature throughout the cold chain and predicting the approximate shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
We hope that the details shared above clarified your doubts about methods used for improving the shelf life of plant-based food like fruits and vegetables.