NEWS: Two solutions extend shelf-life of avocados

21-03-2019

US-based WP Produce, the largest importer and distributor of tropical avocados worldwide, has announced significant improvements to lengthen the shelf life of their Desbry avocados. Tropical avocados—also known as green skin avocados—are seeing a rise in demand due to the overall popularity of avocados globally.

To combat the shorter shelf life of these avocados, the company has begun using ethylene-filtering technology to reduce the amount of the gas surrounding the fruit, so slowing down the ripening process. The company has also transitioned to a new shipping carton that enhances air circulation and improves ventilation, further lengthening the shelf life of its products.

“Tropical avocados typically have a shelf life of 5-6 days,” said Christopher Gonzalez, vice president of sales at WP Produce. “With our new ventilated box designs and ethylene reduction technology, we’re looking at potentially doubling the shelf life by adding up to an additional 4-5 days of freshness.”

Desiree Morales, vice president of WP Produce explained, “The shorter shelf life of tropical varieties can present a challenge for retailers and foodservice professionals. By taking steps to improve the shelf life of our products, we saw an opportunity to increase supply chain efficiencies, reduce waste at retail and improve user experience for both consumers and chefs alike.”

Earlier Apeel Sciences, also based in the USA fruit growing heartland, announced an edible coating for avocados which extends shelf-life by controlling the rate at which water escapes the surface and the rate at which oxygen enters. “We’re creating an optimized microclimate that can double the shelf life,” said James Rogers, CEO of Apeel Sciences. “The average avocado might be ripe for 2-3 days. Ours will stay ripe for 4-6 days.”

The coating is made from naturally occurring lipids extracted from discarded fruit or vegetable waste, including tomatoes, grapes, wasted seeds. These lipids are turned into a powder that can be reconstituted with water to create a dip or a spray. So it is a very natural product, says the company.

Although Apeel has started with avocados, the coating’s formulation can be modified to improve conditions for other items including strawberries, mangoes, apples, bananas, kumquats and asparagus, it says.