StixFresh, which could be applied to labels that are already used on produce, extends shelf life up to 14 days.
Preventing huge amounts of fresh produce from winding up in a landfill may be as simple as upgrading the stickers already applied to perishable fruits and vegetables
The Washington-based company developed a solution formulated from all-natural ingredients that can help extend the shelf-life of avocados, citrus fruits, mangoes, and apples up to 14 days. Plants naturally produce chemicals called secondary metabolites that serve to protect a plant when exposed to stress like temperature, humidity and light fluctuations. They include substances like alkaloids, steroids, fats, tannins and sugars, which can help ward off pesky predators like hungry insects or pathogens.
StixFresh created a natural formulation of these substances that it applies to the non-sticky side of a sticker. The secondary metabolites are slowly released over time, providing the fruit with an added cloak of protection during transit or on the shelf.
“Almost every fruit and vegetable already has a sticker on it, so we aren’t adding anything to the supply chain. A sticker is so simple and easy to use. It can be applied anywhere along the supply chain, from the moment the product is picked up to the day the end consumer brings it home,” says Moody Soliman, CEO and co-founder of StixFresh.
StixFresh’s core technology is the brainchild of Malaysian researcher Zhafri Zainudin. The stickers have shown promise in trials on fruits including pear, papaya, starfruit, dragon fruit, and other exotic varieties. In addition to longer shelf life, the stickers promote sweetness, moisture retention and firmness.
“Almost every fruit and vegetable already has a sticker on it, so we aren’t adding anything to the supply chain. A sticker is so simple and easy to use. It can be applied anywhere along the supply chain, from the moment the product is picked up to the day the end consumer brings it home.”
Giving produce a bigger window for consumption may help make a dent in the world’s serious food waste problem. Some 63 million tons of food is wasted each year, according to non-profit food waste research outlet ReFED, with 85% of the waste occurring at the retail and in-home stages of the supply chain.
Fruits and vegetables have the highest rates of waste, with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimating 40% to 50% of fruits and vegetables produced globally end up in the garbage. The figure is unsurprising considering it can take quite a bit of time to get a shipment of freshly picked avocados or other produce from the farm gate to the consumers’ shopping cart, cutting into an already narrow window of optimum consumption.
Extracted from an article by Lauren Manning
Fooddive – April 15, 2019