U.K.'s Sirane Food Packaging develops Sira-Flex Resolve, a new compostable bioplastic film that extends the shelf life of fruits, vegetables by up to five days
April 10, 2012
Significant shelf-life extension of between two and five days has been reported for fruit and vegetables using an innovative new method of wrapping.
Retail trials using Sirane’s Sira-Flex™ Resolve® have reported four additional days shelf-life with potatoes and equally significant results with other fruit and vegetables.
Sirane’s Sira-Flex™ Resolve® is a new, unique film which has been developed to have the optimum balance between humidity control and O2 and CO2 permeability.
The permeability is temperature dependant so that the perfect atmosphere is maintained inside the pack even if the storage temperature is variable.
Simon Balderson, Sirane’s managing director, said: “The results are remarkable. There is no condensation on the inside of the film and the product does not dry out.
“The package atmosphere is maintained with the optimum balance of atmospheric gases to prevent degradation. In simple terms, the food lasts longer.
“Shelf life extension of several days and more is achieved for many products. The film is suitable for all types of vegetables including salads as well as many types of fresh fruit.”
The film is a natural bio-polymer made from plants. It is sustainable and fully compostable. The permeability is controlled by the property of the film itself.
Due to the unique structure of the film material, the permeability to humidity, O2 and CO2 is different in each case. This has allowed Sirane’s team of scientists to balance the permeability of each component to achieve the optimum result.
The results could lead to far less food being thrown away by customers and retailers.. Mr Balderson said: “Shelf-life extension is the holy grail for the fruit and vegetable industry. A huge amount of food is wasted because it goes off before it is eaten.
“The supermarkets throw loads away every day. Consumers do the same of course. If we can add a few more days to the shelf life, we could reduce the amount of food waste and significantly reduce costs. We can also make it more likely that the consumer will get a quality product in good condition.”
Mr Balderson said the new technology has broken new ground – food will not dry out, there will be no ‘fogging’, and no mould or bacteria growth.
“They key to shelf-life is to find a material which balances the O2 and CO2permeability and the moisture vapour humidity to optimise the environment in the pack to give the maximum shelf life. This is a difficult balance,” he said.
“Up to now, no-one has been able to achieve this balance with complete success. Sirane has now managed it, and we think the food industry will be as excited as we are.”
Shelf-life is a particular issue within the international export business. Fruit and vegetables are shipped all around the world, many are grown in the hotter parts of the world - Spain, North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East, South and Central America.
They are shipped to the UK, Northern Europe, Russia, the US and elsewhere for consumption, often with only a few days shelf-life left when they arrive at their destination.
In conclusion, Sirane’s Sira-Flex™ Resolve® could:
Improve the quality, taste and texture of the food for the consumer
Reduce food waste and associated costs
Reduce processing and shipping costs
Bring new export markets within range of population centres