Indian packaging specialist Uflex has announced the successful completion of a trial shipment of blueberries from South America to Europe using its Flexfresh Liner Bags.
The trial, which was conducted by a major European retailer, compared the condition of berries shipped with and without the bags both in punnets and loose. After a seven-week period the blueberries in the liner bags were found to be good, firm, crunchy and tasty, while those packed in a controlled ambience had mostly collapsed and turned mouldy, the company said.
Uflex claimed that while the loose blueberries resulted in an average weight loss of 19.96 per cent, those packed in Flexfresh shed just 0.76 per cent of their weight – a 96 per cent reduction in weight loss upon arrival.
The results of the study also established that although pre-packing addresses the issue of weight loss it does not address quality. The berries that were shipped in punnets without using liner bags still showed the same quality problems such as mould.
Uflex’s N. Siva Shankaran said the trials pave the way for an increase in seafreighted blueberries, bringing down logistical costs for the importer. “It is a clear win-win both for the exporters in South America and the importers in Europe thereby boosting the trade prospects on the whole,” he noted.
Uflex developed the system, which uses modified atmospheric packaging, in collaboration with Dutch partner Perfotec. The former manufactures the patented polymeric packaging film and the latter supplies the Fast Respiration metre that measures the respiration rate of the fresh produce inside and the associated software for calculating the required film permeability. The Perfotec laser system subsequently uses this information to adapt the permeability of the film through micro perforations.
This solution guarantees the ideal oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the liner bags to maintain freshness and extend the shelf-life of the product.
Together, the companies have been building a global distribution network to roll out the technology and they are now keen to attract new customers, particularly in Latin America and Asia. Uflex is currently conducting trials on a number of other fruits and vegetables.