Logistics projects are focussing on the optimisation of shipping container space utilisation while packaging projects are aimed at reducing plastic packaging or finding alternatives to non-recyclable, single-use plastics without jeopardising fruit quality or the structural integrity of the packaging. The Store-It group of pome fruit post-harvest technical experts has identified plastic packaging as the most pressing post-harvest issue that needs to be addressed.
The Plastic Workgroup of the Packhouse Action Group is providing direction in terms of where industry needs to go with regard to plastic packaging. Going forward, Hortgro will be initiating projects on the needs identified by the Plastic Workgroup. The research of Dr Ola Fawole on edible coatings (see the Quality Management theme) is delivering very promising results. Dr Fawole found that some edible coatings have the potential to prevent shrivel and extend the storage life of plums and nectarines while potentially precluding the need for plastic packaging to prevent excessive moisture loss.
- Integral container logistics research. (AA Tsige)
- Development of knowledge to react to possible banning of single-use petroleum based plastics that impact on post-harvest management of stone and pome fruit quality knowledge. (H Tayler and H Viljoen)
- Evaluating the effects of different plastic liners and pallet shrouds on internal and external quality on pome fruit. (A Botes and D Viljoen)
- Application of biodegradable films for packaging of pome and stone fruit - towards a sustainable bio-economy in Agri-food trade. (O Caleb)