A Food Freshness Technology Holdings company

Technical Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why use It’s Fresh! filters - Why are they needed?

Once a crop is harvested it inevitably begins a process towards deterioration – initially through maturity or ripening then ultimately deterioration.

It’s Fresh! filters can help to extend the quality of fruit and vegetables, increase shelf life and reduce food waste by slowing down this process.

2. How do It’s Fresh! filters work?

It’s Fresh! filters help to maintain quality of fruit, increase shelf life and reduce food waste. It’s Fresh! is a revolutionary new type of ethylene absorber.

Ethylene – Why is it important?

Ethylene gas is a naturally produced plant hormone – and probably the most import and of all the plant hormones in terms of the number of processes it controls. Fruit and vegetables produce ethylene and use it as a signal to increase respiration and to speed up the natural maturation and ripening process.

Removing ethylene from around the fruit can help slow down this maturation process, slow deterioration and therefore maintain quality.

Many fruit and vegetables produce and are also sensitive ethylene – higher sensitivity means a greater impact on respiration and ultimately deterioration.

The level of ethylene production and sensitivity varies between fruit and vegetable types.

Some fruits produce very little but are extremely sensitive, whilst others produce large amounts – This means that even low emitters can be affected by other fruit around them.

Ethylene and stress

Ethylene production in fruit and vegetables is also affected by stress, such as higher temperatures and mechanical damage in the form of bruising.

These can cause fruit and vegetables to produce more ethylene and so accelerate deterioration. For example if only a few fruits within a load get stressed and start producing ethylene, this will act as a signal to the other fruits packed with it, leading to an increase in respiration across the whole load.

It may also create mixed maturity of load and therefore possible waste of over-mature fruit, particularly in products like Mango.

Absorbing this ethylene can help mitigate the effects of such stresses as bruising or temperature spikes in the supply chain.

e+™ Active

The It’s Fresh! active adsorbs ethylene and locks it away. The active ingredient in the It’s Fresh! filters is called e+™ and attracts ethylene like a magnet.

e+™ is made from a proprietary blend of clay and minerals.

The combination of the porous nature of the clay and the formulation of the minerals means e+™ only adsorbs certain molecules.

e+™ is therefore highly selective and significantly attracts ethylene. It therefore has no effect on larger desirable molecules such as flavour and aroma compounds, which leaves them present in and around the fruit for consumers to enjoy.

When the e+™ is placed near the fruit this adsorption process is one-way. The ethylene is safely locked away with no by-products produced.

e+™ locks the ethylene away via a process of chemisorption, which is a process of making chemical bonds and is much stronger process thanphysisorption, which only relies on weaker intermolecular forces (van der Waals forces). As a result, e+™ actively attracts ethylene, through chemisorption, rather than physisorption that relies on the chance encounter of molecules to take effect.

This means e+™ is 100 times better at removing ethylene than any other material.

3. What are It’s Fresh! filters made from?

It’s Fresh! Filters are constructed in a sandwich of 3 layers. The e+™ active is the filling in the middle enclosed on one side by a food grade BOPP film and on the other side a medical grade Tyvek membrane.

The BOPP film is water proof and gas impermeable.

The Tyvek membrane is waterproof but is gas permeable – it is through this membrane that the ethylene gas can pass to be adsorbed by the e+™ active.

The Tyvek membrane is also printed with the It’s Fresh! logo. This green ink is safe and approved for direct food contact.

The design of this construction means that the It’s Fresh! filter is completely safe to be placed in direct contact with food. It is physically tough and durable so that it is perfectly adapted for use in the cold, humid environments associated with fresh produce supply chains.

It's Fresh! Filter Diagram

4. Why are It’s Fresh! filters better than other alternatives?

Ethylene removal is an under exploited technique to manage quality of fresh produce.

It’s Fresh! filters safely absorb ethylene to help maintain quality.

Key benefits:

  • Complimentary to other technologies including chilling and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) – can be used on its own or in combination with other technologies.
  • 100 x more capacity for ethylene uptake per gram than any other material.
  • Can be used throughout the whole supply chain – from harvest to fruit bowl.
  • Allows fruit to ripen naturally, which contributes to an enjoyable eating experience.
  • Clean adsorption of ethylene - not oxidising. Therefore no harmful by-products are produced.
  • No chemical release.
  • Safe for food and the environment.

5. How do I use It’s Fresh! Filters?

Format Suitable for: Benefits
Retail filter Retail pack formats Flexible, easy to apply
Small Transit Filters Bulk transit cases Layer and Smaller bulk packs
Large Transit Filters Bulk transit cases Large bulk cases and high ethylene emitters
Integrated It’s Fresh! absorbent pad Berries, soft fruit punnets Cushioning, moisture absorbency, automated application
It’s Fresh! label Retail pack formats Automated application

6. How long do It’s Fresh! filters last?

Storage before use

The filters can be stored in a conventional packaging store. New It's Fresh! filters come with a product life of at least 18 months.

However, if It’s Fresh! filters are kept separated from fruit and other contaminants such as diesel, and also opened bags of It’s Fresh! filters are resealed after use, then shelf life can be much longer – potentially years.

This means that growers and packers have plenty of flexibility when ordering and storing the It’s Fresh! filters before they are needed for use.

It’s Fresh! filters in use

The time taken for the filter to become full will depend on how much ethylene it is exposed to – For example:

  • An It’s Fresh! filter packed with an unripe low emitting fruit in cold chain conditions and shipped by sea freight for several weeks will still have plenty of spare capacity on arrival.
  • An It’s Fresh!filter packed with a ripe high emitting fruit in warmer conditions will fill up much more quickly.

Please contact our team for advice on using It’s Fresh! for best results.

7. Are It’s Fresh! filters safe?

Yes – they are ‘food-safe’ approved in accordance with EU and FDA food contact regulations.

All of the individual components in the filters are bio-safe with no risk to human health.

The It’s Fresh!activee+ ™ has a very safe toxicity level which is half that of common table salt – i.e. twice as safe.

Even when the components are combined into the filter, extensive tests have shown it is food safe and complies with all legislation.

In its expert capacity, Campden BRI has confirmed that the following is a comprehensive list of pertinent materials legislation governing EU food contact specifically applicable to the It’sFresh! product range, given its materials of construction and mode of intended use:

  • Regulation (EC) No. 1935/2004 (on materials and articles intending to come into contact with food)
  • Regulation (EC) No. 2023/2006 on good manufacturing practice
  • Food Contact Plastics 2002/72/EC (as amended by 2004/1/EC; 2004/19/EC; 2005/79/EC, 2007/19/EC, 2008/29/EC) and Directives 82/711/EEC & 85/572/EEC

8. What about It’s Fresh!, the environment and recycling?

The two key strategic intents defining our sustainability policy are communicated and well understood by our staff, our suppliers, and our customers;

  • To design ground-breaking new products and services which help our customers to be more sustainable, innovative and competitive; and
  • To maximise our efficiency with the resources we use as a business

The benefits delivered by our products are focussed on improvements in yield and reduction in waste in the food sector. This directly helps to address the problem at the heart of food security.

From the outset we have been able to make decisions about our raw materials and manufacturing processes based on the degree of sustainability.

Manufacturing

The e+ ™ active itself is produced from 100% recycled minerals.

Any waste generated through the our manufacturing processis recycled to the greatest extent possible.

This is carefully controlled through mass balance checks and quality control at each step of manufacture.

Recycling of It’s Fresh! Filters

The filters can be placed in current domestic waste recycling streams.

In the UK, DEFRA have confirmed that the It’s Fresh!e+ ™ active contained within the filter is safe and suitable for disposal in current domestic waste recycling streams.

9. What other innovations are It’s Fresh! working on?

  • We are currently working on a number of technologies that can help improve food quality and reduce waste.
  • We are keen to collaborate with our customers to find solutions to their needs – different products and supply chains have different requirements so it is a case of fitting the appropriate technology to each situation to get the best results.
  • Please contact us about your requirements
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