Uflex’s Flexfresh active modified atmospheric packaging (AMAP) liner bags have just completed a major milestone. Partnering with a European retail chain for a trial, blueberries packed in the Flexfresh bags were shipped from South America to Europe, a shipment that resulted in an average 19.96 percent weight loss and 96 percent overall weight loss reduction upon arrival compared to conventional packaging.

Flexfresh is a special polymeric packaging film manufactured by Uflex for packing fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers and its partner, Perfotec, supplies the fast respiration meter for ascertaining the respiration rate of the fresh produce and the associated software for calculating the required film permeability. The Perfotec laser system subsequently uses this information to adapt the permeability of the film offered by Uflex through micro perforations. This solution maintains the ideal oxygen and carbon dioxide inside the liner bags to maintain freshness and extend the shelf life of the product. 

In the recently held trial, the objective of the retail chain was to ascertain if it was possible to ship and store the soft fruit (blueberry) for seven weeks in a Flexfresh liner bag. The blueberries were packed in punnets with and without Flexfresh liner bags. In a separate lot, loose blueberries were packed with and without Flexfresh liner bags. After seven weeks, the blueberries in the liner bags were found to be good, firm, crunchy and tasty. However those packed in a controlled ambience had most of them collapsed and moldy.

The results also established that pre-packing itself is not enough, as it can address the issue of weight loss but not quality. Punnets with and without liner bags resulted in 0.76 percent and 2.56 percent weight loss, respectively. Both these figures are significantly lower than the 19.96 percent weight loss registered in case of loose blueberries. The punnets that were not using the liner bag still showed the same quality problems like mouldy blueberries.

Upon successfully testing Flexfresh™ liner bags for sea freight of blueberries Mr. N. Siva Shankaran Vice President, Flexfresh™ at Uflex Limited said,

“This test indeed is quite a feat and has instilled a lot of faith in our Flexfresh packaging solution, says Siva Shankaran, vice president, Flexfresh at Uflex Limited. “More business queries are flowing in. The recent trials have successfully established a shelf life of seven weeks for the soft fruit without using sulphur pads that cause irritation while consuming. The European retailer is confident that Flexfresh liner bags for blueberries from the Southern Hemisphere would be used for all shipments in a short span of time. Supplying blueberries by sea will significantly bring down the logistical costs for the importer. It is a clear win-win both for the exporters in South America and the importers in Europe, thereby boosting the trade prospects on the whole.”