Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables
Packaging is an important consideration in vegetable and fruit market. The use of properly designed containers for transporting and marketing of vegetables can significantly reduce their losses and maintain their freshness succulence and quality for longer period. Packaging also provides protection from mechanical damage and undesirable physiological changes and pathological deterioration during storage, transportation and marketing.
Many vegetables are transported in gunny bags of bamboo baskets. Packaging material such as polythene films, paper boars, and boxes lived with polythene and other materials can effectively prolong the shelf life of vegetables. By using plastic films vegetables can be protected from dry air. Polythene packaging, provides modified atmosphere and consequently reduces decay, softening , and loss of solids. The thickness and permeability to CO2, O2 and water vapour of films needs to be standardized for each vegetable.
In case of Brinjal and Cauliflower, thick films were found to develop off-flavour whereas thin and gas permeable films maintained Cauliflower for longer period and Okra fruits could last for nine days without deterioration and quality.
Packaging of vegetables in perforated films significantly reduces weight and water loss in transportation. Ex. Carrot.
Wide variety of containers such as Wooden boxes, baskets woven from bamboo or trees, hessian sack , earthen pots and Corregulated Fibre Board ( CFB) boxes are important package forms used in transportation and distribution of fruits in most of the developing countries.
All the package must have some amount of ventilation in order to prevent physiological break down, the wooden boxes have a good stacking strength but they are heavy in weight.
Corregulated Fibre Board are made from the craft paper which can easily be manufactured from Bamboo, grasses and various types of agricultural residues as well as by recycling the used Card Boards or Papers.
Advantages of Corregulated Fibre Board Boxes:
1. They are light in weight.
2. They cause much less damage to fruits.
3. They are easy to handle and print.
4. They improve the product image.
5. They reduce the fright cost.
Packaging is the vital component of post harvest management of fruits and vegetables. It helps in minimizing deterioration during handling and marketing of fruits and vegetables. Adequate packaging protects the fruits and vegetables from Physiological, pathological, and physical deterioration and retains their attractiveness. In India, packaging of fruits and vegetables is not done properly and hence, it acts as major cause of post harvest losses.
The wide range of package is used for fruits and vegetables. These include gunny bags, bamboo basket, wooden crates, corrugated fibreboard boxes, metal trunks, etc. Different sizes and shape of these package are used.
Presently corrugated fibre board ( CFB) boxes are used for export of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
In big package, the cushioning material such as paddy straw, hay, paper shavings, tissue, etc are used to avoid bruising of fruits and vegetables during transportation and marketing.