VCBT storage experiments

Blueberry storage experiments

Evaluating blueberry quality

Climate neutral packaging

Location:
France and Belgium

Food Category:
Fruits & Vegetables

Application:
Packaging

Main Chain Link:
Process

Impact:
Use of sustainable packaging materials for perishable fruit and vegetables should lead to significant GHG emission reductions (estimated across the EU in the order of 10 million tonnes of CO2e), by replacing wasted packaging by sustainable alternatives. Optimized solutions should lead to reduced food waste of highly perishable fruit and vegetables, potentially also providing energy use savings by reducing refrigeration needs.

After harvesting, vegetables and fruit are subject to a loss of quality, whether or not in combination with microbial spoilage. This leads to large food losses every year. Particularly with very perishable soft fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, this results in major economic losses in the trade. In order to counteract these post-harvest losses, packaging is traditionally used to influence the environmental conditions of the product in a favorable way.

Recently, more and more attention has been paid to alternative packaging that is more sustainable, such as reducing plastic, and so-called active packaging that can inhibit microbial growth. In this demo, we will evaluate a number of packaging alternatives for soft fruit under simulated post-harvest conditions, perform quality measurements on the packaged product, build simulation models to evaluate it in silico, and validate it under lab conditions. This research is done in collaboration between INRAE, KU Leuven and VCBT.

The demo is reviewing alternative solutions for high carbon footprint packaging materials that are at sufficiently high technology readiness level (TRL 6), for application on the short term to fruit and vegetable supply chains.

The most promising solutions are tested for effects on quality preservation, benchmarked against the current state of the art.

MAIN CONTACT:

Dr. Maarten Hertog, maarten.hertog@kuleuven.be