Keeping cut flowers fresh is no easy task
We’ve already introduced you to the incredible packaging innovation that is Flexfresh™, and how it’s revolutionising the packaging and transport of fresh fruit and vegetables. It has even been called “The Holy Grail of oxygen and water barrier for packaging fresh produce” by its Indian supplier, Uflex Limited.
The latest exciting news to come out of the Flexfresh™ camp is that this game-changing film is now being used to extend the life of fresh flowers for an incredible 10 to 15 days – without water! Traditional packaging methods can only ever guarantee flower freshness for between four and five days, so this really is a huge leap forward for flower growers around the world.
Before this exciting innovation, fresh cut flowers were typically harvested, checked, sorted and cleaned before being stacked in bunches and put into refrigerated storage. They were then transported to their retail destination, where they had to be kept in buckets of water until being sold.
With Flexfresh™, flower packaging is now waterless. This is fantastic news for e-commerce flower companies and retailers, as it greatly increases the product volume-to-weight ratio. This means that more flowers can be loaded into one truck, reducing transport costs.
How Does It Work?
How does this amazing technology help to keep cut flowers fresh? Depending on their genetics, different flowers respire at different rates. Their growing conditions and the amount of water they’re given also affect how quickly they breathe. This is why a “once size fits all” approach cannot be applied to packaging for flowers. It’s vital to calculate the rate of respiration for each flower type, so that the correct perforation matrix for the packaging film can be used.
The rate of respiration is measured using PerfoTec’s Fast Respiration Meter. A patented laser technology is then used to make micro perforations on Flexfresh™’s unique polymeric film. This film, which can be custom engineered to be either mono- or multi-layered, allows cut flowers to breathe in hydrated oxygen and release excess humidity. This maintains the flowers’ hydration while keeping them dry to the touch.
It’s this dryness that is one of the most crucial factors. Fresh cut flowers’ biggest enemy is condensed humidity, as this can cause Botrytis, or grey mould. With Flexfresh™, the humidity is prevented from condensing. In addition, because there is less oxygen available, the flowers don’t breathe as much. They go into a kind of “hibernation,” which reduces the overall humidity and heat generated by respiration.
Once the package is opened by an end-user, the flowers are guaranteed to remain fresh (in water, of course!) for at least a week.
Flexfresh™ is available for fresh flowers, from grower to market, in Bulk Liner Bags, Retail Packs and also for Internet Deliveries. Mapflex is the proud supplier of Perfotec MAP in South Africa, and we’d love to tell you more about how this amazing product can make your flower business, well, bloom! Please contact us today.