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Laser microperforated packaging prevents fresh produce waste

“Due to climate change, there will be even more challenges in our supply chain. While there is abundance now in, for instance, berries, the future will probably be different, and we will have to preserve every berry as much as possible,” explains Elisa Bongiolatti of PerfoTec, the need to prevent food waste.

This is where micro laser perforation can step in. Through this science-based technology, PerfoTec LinerBags create a passive modified atmosphere inside the bags that contributes to retaining freshness, color, and taste resulting in an extended shelf life.

“The micro laser perforations allow a controlled airflow exchange between the bag’s inside and the outer environment. This slows down the respiration pattern of the fresh produce. We basically put the product to sleep; we extend the shelf life.” Elisa mentions that the LinerBags are tailored to each type of fresh produce’s needs and are suitable for any packaging line. “Moreover, PerfoTec LinerBags can also be applied to products that will be in ripening rooms. That leads to a more homogenous ripening in terms of color and firmness.”

Fresh and aromatic
One of the products that a LinerBag is developed for is blueberry. Elisa indicates that research has been done in both static storage trials and during transportation. “After four weeks, the taste is still very fresh and aromatic. Also, there was no dehydration, which means no weight loss. Blueberries stored and transported under similar conditions but without LinerBags, presented dehydration and molds.” She mentions that preventing dehydration is important in more than one way: dehydration weakens the berries giving way to the development of molds.

“The product stays in a better condition, and because of that,  the pressure in terms of molds and bacteria is so low that it is insignificant,” adds PerfoTec’s Stefano Hiwat. He mentions that this aspect also plays a role in the ripening process. “When products are treated with ethylene for ripening, this has the side effect of activating bacterial and fungal activity. Since the LinerBag gives such an extremely low disease pressure, there were no bacteria and fungus, to begin with. That leads to a much better quality end product, a further increased shelf life, and beautiful products for presentation.”

Sea freight comes into view
Meant for bulk packaging, the LinerBags mainly come into view during storage and transportation. Elisa signals that the bags can contain loose products or pre-packaged goods in macro perforated punnets, pouches, or clam shells.

“The PerfoTec LinerBags allow a reduction of cost of storing product in CA (Controlled Atmosphere) storage. This has to do with high electricity costs that are increasing in the market and the shortage of CO2. The LinerBags can substitute in a natural way the CA storage and be cheaper than CA storage.” Particularly the extended shelf life opens up opportunities in transportation, mentions Stefano. He sees that in this way, logistical delays – which appear to be very common – can be overcome. But also sea freight, traditionally with longer transit times, could be an option to replace airfreight.

That is, for instance, the case with bell peppers. “Consider that bell peppers are usually flown from the Netherlands to the USA. With the PerfoTec LinerBags, they can be stored for a maximum of 28 days. That had opened the door for sea transport,” says Stefano. He indicates that the same goes for broccoli – which stays moister and longer edible when inside a LinerBag - with storage up to 40 days with at a temperature of 0˚C. “This product is flown in polystyrene boxes filled with ice from the Netherlands to Dubai. They can now easily be shipped.”

Brussels sprouts are another product that can benefit from the laser micro perforation technique. Elisa mentions that this high respiring vegetable can benefit a lot from having a low oxygen level inside the bag.

“High respiring products potentially have a shorter shelf life. With the LinerBags, we can lower the gas levels and avoid bottom oxidation as well as dehydration and yellowing. The LinerBags allow Brussel sprouts to be stored for 21 days at 0 ˚C.”

She notes that the bags also allow more consistent quality, an important aspect to many suppliers. “It is very important to be able to give a guarantee that product remains good until it reaches the final customer.”

PerfoTec is present at FruitAttraction: stand 7F05B

For more information:
Perfotec                                                             Klompenmakersweg 16
3449 JB Woerden
Elisa Bongiolatti 
+31 6 89920057
[email protected] 
Stefano Hiwat
+ 31 6 899 11 952
[email protected]