Packaging to extend shelf life of fruit and veg

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Swedish company Billerud will next week open a research centre to
develop packaging that can extend the shelf life of fruit and
vegetables during transportation.

Box Lab, the company's new laboratory, will be inaugurated on the 28 July and will focus on developing corrugated containers that prevent fruit and vegetables from spoiling. As the majority of fruit and vegetables eaten in Europe spend some time in transit, Billerud's new containers supply a market need for cost effective transport solutions that don't impact on produce quality. The market currently loses around €10bn of profit because of damage, the company claims. To combat this problem, growers often harvest unripe produce, as its harder consistency is more adept at sustaining knocks and bumps. However, unripe fruit and vegetables are less nutritious, so other transit solutions are needed, the company claims. At Box Lab, Billerud's experts will measure the performance of corrugated boxes in a climate chamber, where temperatures and moisture levels can be varied to mirror transit conditions, the company explained. The boxes will be made with a primary fibre material developed by Billerud specifically for transporting fruit, vegetables, meat and heavy duty items. The material is branded "Flute". Billerud also sells liner that forms the outer layer of corrugated board. This liner is made of primary fibre and is suitable for direct contact with food and has the strength to cope with demanding transport conditions, the company claims. "We wish to develop a global standard for corrugated boxes that tolerate the toughest conditions,"​ said Per Lindberg, Billerud's chief executive and president. The new boxes could also provide more environmentally-friendly transit solutions, as perishable fruit and vegetables currently often travel by air in a climate-controlled environment, releasing high volumes of emissions.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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