TransFresh Corp. is using Apio Inc.’s BreatheWay technology in an updated version of its Tectrol modified atmosphere packaging that targets fresh blueberries.
The Tectrol storage for blueberries provides a sealed package system with adjustable oxygen transfer rates that react to changes in temperature and berry respiration.
“(T)he innovative zip-sealed pallet system combined with the patented breathable membrane allows just the right amount of oxygen transfer needed by the fruit, resulting in greater atmosphere control than previously possible,” Rich Macleod, TransFresh Corp. vice president, said in a news release.
Customers previously struggled to meet the atmosphere needs of fresh blueberries, he said.
Salinas, Calif.-based TransFresh is a subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International. Apio is a subsidiary of Landec Corp. The blueberry storage technology, which aims to keep oxygen and carbon dioxide stable, is the result of a multi-year research and development initiative.
TransFresh expects that it can be adapted to commodities like fresh cherries and grapes.
Tectrol has been previously used with strawberries in a pallet sealing method. The method has been “turned on its head” for blueberries, said Reilly Rhodes, who led the development project for TransFresh.
“We redesigned our seal system for the fresh blueberry market and then married the redesigned seal and bag with the Apio BreatheWay technology,” he said in the release.
That made it adjustable to the fruit and its storage conditions, according to Rhodes, TransFresh Tectrol business manager for fresh blueberries.
“We were no longer simply adapting a successful program for fresh strawberries to fresh blueberries, we were actually creating a new and highly adaptable solution designed specifically for fresh blueberries,” he said.
Sales of blueberries are up 15% in the U.S. over last year, according to TransFresh. That has created demand for more effective storage of a fruit grown in a variety of countries and districts with varieties that tend to have steep production peaks.