Celery and herb shelf-life extension in trials

A Spanish producer’s trials with celery and herbs showed a significant shelf-life extension using Sirane’s innovative packaging film Sira-Flex Resolve®.

Celery only truly started to turn after a mammoth 44 days, and a similar figure was achieved with spinach, coriander and parsley when held in cold storage.

For celery this was an increase of more than five days on alternative forms of packaging and 10 days beyond what would be expected without packaging, and for the herbs an increase of more than five days on what was achieved with alternative packaging.

Discolouration and odour in particular was slowed down by the use of the bags.

Jeremy Haydn-Davies, sales director, said: “This is further testament to the unique properties of Sira-Flex Resolve®, and results like this keep coming in.

“We know Sira-Flex Resolve® has some remarkable properties, and we’ve had people running trials around the world, many of whom are now starting to share their results.”

Sirane’s Sira-Flex Resolve® is a 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.

Earlier trials have shown very positive results with many other types of fresh produce.

Last year trials with UK distributors revealed double the shelf-life on brassicas.

In the trials cauliflower and broccoli - which following transportation had been deteriorating after just one day on the shelves - was still in good condition after five days.

The same trials showed an additional two days shelf-life for cabbages, leeks and carrots.

Other very positive findings have been reported in strawberries, mushrooms, green beans, salads and potatoes. Jeremy added: “We try to avoid making claims that Sira-Flex Resolve® will achieve a particular level of shelf-life, as there are so many factors.

“What we suggest is that customers try the film in their own food chain, in their own set of conditions, and see what results can be achieved by using Sira-Flex Resolve®.” 

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Sirane keen to help companies meet food waste targets

Packaging can help keep fresh produce fresh

Food packaging expert Sirane has welcomed a pledge to significantly cut household food waste – and vowed to continue its work to find solutions that will help.

Sirane – an innovative packaging development and manufacturing company with a growing reputation in shelf-life extension – already has a number of packaging solutions that will help reduce food waste, both within the supply chain and the household.

Last week 45 signatories, including all the major grocery retailers and many leading brand manufacturers, signed up to the third phase of the Courtauld Commitment.

And the message from Sirane is simple – we’re already working on projects that will enable the Courtauld 3 aims to become reality, and are happy to work on developing additional solutions for the industry, just let us know the problems which need solving.

Courtauld Commitment Phase 3 targets are:

• Reduce household food and drink waste by 5% - this represents a 9% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in food purchased

• Reduce traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the grocery supply chain by 3% - signatories will have to make an 8% reduction in real terms to counter the expected increase in production and sales.

• Improve packaging design through the supply chain to maximise recycled content as appropriate, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste, while ensuring there is no increase in the carbon impact of packaging - signatories will have to make a 3% reduction in real terms to counter the expected sales increase.

Simon Balderson, Sirane’s MD, said: “Courtauld 3 wants retailers to ensure packaging develops and evolves. Not only is it possible to reduce packaging waste significantly, but it’s also possible to reduce food waste significantly with more advanced packaging.

“For many years now that’s what Sirane has been striving to do and we’ve had some major successes in the last 12 month. We’ve already worked on technology that will enable people to move towards achieving the aims of Courtauld 3 and beyond.

“Courtauld 3 might seem daunting, but our message is clear. We can help. This is exactly the sort of area of work that gets us excited. Bring us your packaging problems and we might have a solution – and if we haven’t we will work on developing one.”

The signatories of Courtauld 3 are aiming to reduce food waste by 1.1 million tonnes by 2015, bringing £1.6 billion cost benefits to consumers and industry. However, the ambitious new targets must be achieved against a back drop of sales growth and an increase in the amount of food produced in the UK – as well as a difficult financial climate.

“Many companies may look at Courtauld 3 and think it will cost them more money,” said Mr Balderson, “but using more advanced technology can actually save companies money in the long-run, as they’ll get money back from reduced wastage and returns.”

To achieve the targets, signatories must help consumers reduce waste in the home. This will include delivering targeted food waste reduction initiatives, clearer product labelling and improved packaging design, while also tackling supply chain waste.

“Sirane already has a number of products that will help,” said Mr Balderson. “Our shelf-life bags and films, for example, can significantly extend shelf-life in fresh produce. This benefit can be passed right through the chain – from the grower through to the customer.

“We’ve had some remarkable results with significant shelf-life extension for strawberries, salads, cucumbers, mushrooms and potatoes among other things – all items that end up getting thrown out by not only customers but by retailers as well.

“Other products, such as our anti-fungal and ethylene absorbent pads for fruit, will also contribute massively to reducing the amount of food wasted right through the chain.

“We’ve also developed odour-absorbent pads which have been used very successfully in vac-packed lamb, among other things. These pads have soaked up the ‘containment odour’ and stopped customers wrongly thinking that the meat is off and returning it.

“This is just a snap-shot of the types of initiatives that Sirane has been working on. We’re prepared and ready to help with Courtauld 3, and are in many ways ahead of the game.”

The Courtauld Commitment has already made a difference. To date, 2.3 million tonnes of waste has successfully been prevented by the Courtauld signatories and consumers during the first two phases of the Commitment. The value of waste prevented is around £3.5bn. The final results of Courtauld Commitment 2 will be announced later this year.

Dr Liz Goodwin, WRAP’s CEO, said: “Courtauld 3 builds on the achievements of Courtauld 1 and 2 by tackling the areas that bring the greatest financial benefits to UK plc and deliver significant reduction in environmental impact.

“Over the course of the three phases of the agreement, a 20% reduction in UK household food waste is achievable, a deeply impressive outcome.”

For more information on Sirane and how the company could help your business play its part in the Courtauld Commitment 3, call 01952 230055 or visit www.sirane.com

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    Sirane's divisions - food packaging, medical, horticultural and industrial

    Sirane Ltd. Stafford Park 6, Telford, Shropshire, TF3 3AT. Telephone +44 (0)1952 230055