Research confirms importance of ethylene removal in extending strawberry product

Research from Writtle College shows for the first time that ethylene removal extends the post-harvest life of strawberries.

The research, presented at the MQUIC 2013 supply chain conference, utilised the commercially-proven ethylene-removal technology used in It’sFresh! ethylene-removal pads.

Dr Chris Bishop, Reader in Postharvest Technology at Writtle College, demonstrated how It’sFresh! ethylene removal pads extend the shelf-life of strawberries by two (or more) days, effectively compensating for temperature breaks in the fresh-produce supply chain.

He said: “The tests we have carried out showed unequivocally that It’sFresh! ethylene-removal technology extends product life by at least two or more days. This benefits everyone in the supply chain, from grower to consumer, by reducing waste and boosting consumers’ confidence that they will get full enjoyment and value from the produce they buy.”

Already used by M&S, Waitrose and others in the UK—also by Cencosud in Chile and with wider EU, US and APAC commercialisation well underway—It’sFresh! is helping to combat fresh produce waste. Its simple pad, easily inserted into fresh produce packaging, traps and locks away ethylene gas (the fruit’s natural hormone, responsible for the premature ripening and decay of produce on its journey from growers to consumers).

Based on current commercial roll-out, It’sFresh! typically saves around 50% of in-store waste and adds a minimum of two days’ product life, giving consumers greater freedom to buy and enjoy their five-a-day, ensuring they get full value for money.

Simon Lee, Chief Marketing Officer at It’sFresh!, commented: “This independent study, undertaken using our ethylene-removal technology, reinforces what we and It’sFresh! customers already know from commercial experience: strawberries and other berries need effective ethylene management just as much as other types of fruit if they are to arrive at the consumer in top condition and avoid being wasted.

“Our technology is a British innovation with the potential to make a global difference in the fresh produce industry. It’sFresh! has been shown to effectively remove ethylene throughout the whole supply chain, not only in strawberries and other berries, but also in tomatoes, avocados, stone fruit and pears. Its simplicity makes it readily applicable in both developed and developing world, and emerging markets.”