Produce Packaging Offers Added Functionality, Less Plastic
StePac L.A. Ltd. (StePac.com) has launched Xflow, a functional flowpack solution for blueberries that reduces waste through the supply chain, saves labor costs and uses leaner plastic packaging.
Blueberries in clamshells are typically manually prepacked and sealed in modified atmosphere packaging. This process can be labor-intensive. StePac was challenged to provide a solution that would enable a reduction in labor costs.
Xflow combines the modified atmosphere/modified humidity (MA/MH) properties of Xtend packaging in a film that also contains a unique sealing layer, making it compatible with conventional flow pack machines. StePac partners with Delfin Srl, an Italian machine manufacturing company that custom-designed and developed machines for Xflow packaging.
With the Xflow system, 12 clamshells are transported on a conveyor belt into the flowpack machine, where they are wrapped with the Xflow film and then sealed before being placed in the carton. This solution reduces labor and film costs, plus results in a more attractive package. Xflow also improves horizontal airflow across the cartons — critical for efficient cooling and cold-chain management.
The new flowpack extends freshness of fruits, vegetables and even fresh flowers by providing the MA/MH feature that slows respiration and aging, while inhibiting microbial growth. It also reduces dehydration and weight loss during storage and shipping. The customized water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) of the film provide optimal moisture control for packaged produce throughout the supply chain, eliminating free moisture, thereby alleviating the risk of microbial decay.