Edible coating on snack cucumbers to meet rising demand for sustainability

Today’s consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable options. For example, they expect retailers to minimize food waste by looking into alternatives to plastic packaging. This inspired Liquidseal and Rijk Zwaan to join forces to help the value chain solve this issue. Their partnership has resulted in the introduction of an edible coating on snack cucumbers. This innovative solution offers a great opportunity to meet consumer expectations by improving the sustainability of the fresh produce category.

Helping partners tackle issues in the value chain
“At Rijk Zwaan, we are always keen to support partners in their search for solutions. The views on packaging are changing and some European countries – such as Spain and France – are already tightening the rules to curb the use of plastic in the fresh produce category. We are the market leader in cucumber seeds, and one solution to the packaging issue is to breed cucumber varieties with a longer shelf life. However, we realized that additional measures would be necessary for snack cucumbers in order to preserve their shelf life in the value chain,” says Heleen van Rijn-Wassenaar, Marketing Specialist Cucumber at Rijk Zwaan.

Edible coating on snack cucumbers
“We knew that Liquidseal had already developed a coating for long cucumbers, so we reached out to them to discuss a similar solution for snack cucumbers. This resulted in the development of an edible coating for snack cucumbers, which represents a major step towards a more sustainable future. It enables us to offer our partners a solution to the rising consumer demand for less plastic packaging. They can now stop using plastic packaging for snack cucumbers without compromising on shelf life.”

Attractive and easy to implement
“Switching from plastic packaging to the edible coating is also an interesting option for growers, since all they require is a simple spray machine on their premises and the costs are comparable to packaging,” says Ernst van den Berg, International Sales Manager at Liquidseal. “Edible coatings are not yet permitted for use on vegetables under European legislation, but the coating is allowed in the US and some other markets.”

Continued research into solutions
At Liquidseal, they are committed to extending the life of perishable agricultural products in an innovative, sustainable and cost-effective manner. Currently, their coatings are mainly focused on flowers and fruits with inedible skins, but they are continuously investigating opportunities for edible coatings on other fruits and vegetables. Ultimately, Liquidseal is striving to replace the use of clamshells and shrink wrapping by developing edible coatings for fresh produce, as this snack cucumber project in collaboration with Rijk Zwaan illustrates.

For more information:
Rijk Zwaan

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