Fresh food packaging. There’s no denying it’s a contentious issue. There are people who argue that fresh food – particularly fruit and vegetables – comes in its own, natural packaging, i.e. its skin, so why then does it need to be wrapped in plastic, or put in a bag? Ironically, these are often the same people who moan at a supermarket’s produce manager when the loose fruit and veg on display looks less than just-picked fresh!
Here’s the thing:
When fruit and vegetables are still on the plant, their skins are nature’s own packaging, protecting them while they grow and ripen. Once picked, however, food growers and packers have to take over nature’s role. To preserve the freshness of the produce during packing, transport and display, we have to do everything we can to protect the produce from the effects of oxygen and bacteria – both of which are the archenemies of freshness.
This is where packaging – particularly modified atmosphere packaging – is a real game changer.
Fresh Food Packaging – A “Growing” Market
Globally, the fresh food packaging market is predicted to grow by almost four percent annually, reaching a total value of around $116.1 billion by 2025. There are several reasons for this, including:
- Government-endorsed environmental policies
- Advancements in eco-friendly packaging
- New technological developments
The evolving lifestyle of consumers is also a huge contributing factor in the increasing global demand for fresh food packaging. Consumers today are better educated and more aware of environmental concerns such as global warming and rampant food waste. This translates into a growing demand for fresh food packaging that prolongs shelf life (reducing food waste) and which can be composted or recycled. Coupled with this is the rise in demand for healthy food that can be enjoyed on the go. Pre-cut, peeled and sliced fruit and vegetables meet this need head-on.
Globally, disposable income in developed countries is growing. So, although ready-prepared and packaged fresh produce are usually more expensive than unprepared food, consumers are more than happy to pay a premium in order to benefit from the convenience it offers.
In addition to convenience, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) for fresh produce has many other advantages, including:
- Prevents product deterioration – by slowing the natural respiration of fresh produce, MAP helps keep fresh food fresher for longer. It prevents dehydration and, therefore, weight loss, keeping the food tasting and looking good for days.
- Keeps food sanitary – MAP protects the surface of the fruit and vegetables from bacterial contamination due to handling during transport and display.
- Encourages healthy eating – research shows that people, especially children, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables that have already been peeled and sliced.
At Mapflex, we’re excited to be a part of the growing global fresh food packaging industry. Together with our partner, PerfoTec, we’ll carry on working tirelessly to make sure the food you dedicate your life to growing and packing reaches consumers looking and tasting fresh.
To find out more about how you can leverage all the benefits of our game-changing packaging, chat to us today.