Strawberries – Retail shelf-life extension at ambient temperature

Material tested:

  • 250g clamshell macro perforated
  • It’s Fresh! retail ethylene filter (added at source during harvest, 1 filter per clamshell)

Produce tested: Strawberries – Variety Mara des Bois, source France

Company: fruit from Groupe Rouquette, assessments made by the CTIFL in their laboratory

Test date: June 2018

Testing Method: Harvested in 250g clamshells at 20-25°C and stored at 2-4°C (day 1). A total of 200 packs were prepared for this trial.
The following day the fruit was transported at 4°C for few hours by truck to the Carrefour Retailer distribution Centre where it stayed at 1-3°C for few hours, before being transported for few hours to the CTIFL laboratory at 4°C-8°C (day 2). At the CTIFL the fruit was stored at 20°C + 60%RH for 4 days. 16 new packs per treatment were daily assessed according to a visual quality score, an individual fruit count based on major defects (bruise, bleeding, mould and rot), fruit colour, weight loss, firmness and weight of total wasted strawberries per pack.

Results:

  • When monitoring after a day at 4-8°C + 1 or 2 days of storage at 20°C, the product with It’s Fresh! had significantly less rotten or bruised strawberries and higher rate of marketable clamshells than the Control.
  • A significant (p<0.05) quality difference was obtained with the It’s Fresh! compared to the Control over the trial period in ambient:
    • Failures started to be visually visible on day 2 of the store life in ambient (this is packing +3 days), where 70% of the Control packs were not visually saleable (“I would not buy it”) vs 20% of the It’s Fresh! packs.
    • When counting the number of rots (i.e, any pack showing at least 1 incidence of rot was considered a failure), 43.75% of the Control packs failed on day 1 of the store life at 20°C (this is packing +2 days) vs 6.25% for It’s Fresh!. This is 1 day extra of life and 37.5% more saleable clamshells available.
    • When weighting the total berries rejected due to major quality defects, It’s Fresh! provided a 65.6% reduction in waste over the 4 days trial period from harvest (Control with 39.248g total waste vs It’s Fresh! 13.494 g total waste over the 4 days of trial).

It’s Fresh!

Control

 Figure 1 – Visual quality on Packing +3days at 20°C. Control on the right vs It’s Fresh on the left. More mould visible with Control

Figure 2, 3 and 4 – Rate of bruised and rotten strawberries from an individual grading of strawberries (26/06/18: reception at 4°C to 20°C = Packing+2days; 27/06/18: 1 day at 20°C = Packing+3days; 28/06/18: 2 days at 20°C = Packing+4days). Different letters indicate a significant difference at the 5% threshold of Student’s t-test (marketable strawberries, rotted strawberries, juice) or the Kruskall-Wallis test (bruised strawberries). The percentages were calculated from the weight of the strawberries in the different categories.

Figure 5 – Proportion of packs that pass for not showing any incidences of rots. (Any punnet showing at least 1 incidence of rot was considered a failure, i.e., unsaleable).