Treatment is applied to paper-based packaging, extending shelf-life and reducing food waste

Paper-based packaging specialist Smurfit Kappa presented a European first at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, namely the release of its AgroLife treatment for agricultural packaging.

José Llopis, general manager of Smurfit Kappa Totana Fruit Logistica 2024 Agrolife

José Llopis, general manager of Smurfit Kappa Totana Fruit Logistica 2024 Agrolife

AgroLife is designed to increase the shelf-life of fruit and vegetables through the absorption of ethylene, which delays the ripening process in fresh produce.

Produced by Smurfit Kappa Totana, based in Murcia, Spain, the treatment is applied to paper-based agricultural packaging, be that corrugated boxes, lids, punnets or trays.

According to Smurfit Kappa, AgroLife is 100 per cent food contact friendly and does not affect the recyclability of the packaging.

Speaking at Fruit Logistica, José Llopis, general manager of Smurfit Kappa Totana, said that the AgroLife treatment offered many benefits, and was a potential “game-changer”.

“Being able to extend the shelf-life of fresh produce using only the box itself means nothing external needs to be used,” he explained.

“Firstly, and most importantly, it means that food waste is reduced,” said Llopis. “Being able to extend the shelf-life of the product means you can pick later, which means better taste and quality, and improved delivery to the retailers.”

The fact that the treatment is integrated into the shelf-ready packaging means that batches do not need to be manipulated as it moves through the supply chain, ultimately improving produce appearance and quality when it reaches the end consumer.

“The hormone ethylene is a gas produced by fruits and vegetables, which is responsible for growth and ripening,” noted Enrique Guillén, regional manager south-east at Smurfit Kappa Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

“Both climatic and non-climatic products are sensitive to ethylene as it reduces their quality and shelf-life once harvested,” he continued. “This is an inconvenience for the entire fruit and vegetable supply chain, therefore AgroLife is going to be vital throughout the fresh produce supply chain.”