The Indian flexible packaging company has been working with customers in the country to ensure products reach the consumer in good condition.
India grows exotic fruits such as Litchi, Rambutan, Mangosteen and market demand has been increasing year on year.
Rambutan has to be consumed within 48 hours of harvest and could only be sold to neighbouring markets.
The Indian availability is around 400MT per annum and they are available between April and October.
Rambutan export problem
It loses about 8% moisture per day when stored in ambient conditions and its skin turns black on day two due to moisture loss, making it unfit for consumption.
For Rambutan, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) did not work as the condensation caused weight loss, fungal growth and decay.
It is grown commercially in large parts of Western Ghats in Southern India and an unnamed customer undertook trials with Uflex’s Flexfresh to overcome the short shelf life issue which was preventing offering the product to a global market.
Uflex and Perfotec partnered last year for Flexfresh.
Perfotec brings respiration testing and laser perforation and Uflex has the film which keeps the product humid and does not allow it to condense.
Flexfresh is sold in liner bags suitable for international standard size open top boxes and crates. It is also flow wrap for large products such as papaya, melons etc., and as lidding films.
The grower in South West India with an area of 250 acres of the fruit is looking at exporting to other countries as it opens up an opportunity where profitability could result in recovering the associated additional costs.
Trials have just begun and exports would be to Middle East markets with major volumes sold in India.
Some of Uflex's clients include PepsiCo; Tata Global; Mondelez, Ferro Rocher, Perfetti, GSK, Nestle, Agrotech Foods, Coca Cola and Wrigley.
Trials were conducted under 10° Celsius using the Flexfresh 60*40 Liners inside the reusable plastic crates. Product was packed in bunches and in punnet for retail sales.
Two trials with different transmission values and initial observation was after three days with the first set of samples, and the second set were opened on day seven.
Product was further exposed to ambient temperature of around 28° for 48 hours to see the shelf life. The weight loss after seven days was below 0.5% and the quality was intact as there was no moisture loss.
With exposure to ambient conditions, the product was still in good condition after 48 hours with weight loss of around 5%.
Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director of Uflex, said it and Perfotec are complementing each other’s capabilities to address the issue of shelf life extension of fresh produce.
“Leaving the worry of deteriorating qualities during the freight much behind them, the exporters world over are now feeling empowered with a contemporary packaging technology at their disposal that offers fresh quality of fruits and vegetables. All of this at minimal logistical expenditure makes the whole proposition all the more lucrative.”