The MAP films have a high water-vapor transmission rate as well as customized modified atmosphere properties to slow respiration and aging, reduce dehydration, and expel excess moisture from the packaging.
StePacPPC (Tefen, Israel) has customized its modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) films to preserve fresh whole and sliced white mushrooms, as well as whole exotic mushrooms such as oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, and portabella. The lean MAP system employed by StePacPPC is designed to slow deterioration to significantly reduce waste of highly perishable items. Mushrooms are becoming increasingly more popular as a culinary ingredient due to their healthy halo and the meaty umami flavor and texture the fungi can offer vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians. However, they have a short shelf life which makes it difficult for growers and shippers to grow and transport.
“Mushrooms have high metabolic activity and respiration rates which gives them a short shelf life, typically just a few days,” explains Gary Ward, PhD, chief technology officer for StePacPPC, in a press release. “They also generate a lot of moisture during the respiration process, which encourages bacterial decay. On the other hand, they are also prone to dehydration which causes them to shrivel, and they become discolored due to oxidation. Sliced mushrooms are even more susceptible to a rapid decline in quality.”
The MAP films have a high water-vapor transmission rate as well as customized modified atmosphere properties to slow respiration and aging, reduce dehydration, and expel excess moisture from the packaging. Ward says that post-harvest lab and field trials have shown that the films can stretch the shelf life of mushrooms to more than two weeks.
According to the company, its packaging was first shown to preserve mushrooms for longer during the pandemic. StePacPPC’s Xtend bulk packaging solutions helped oyster mushroom farmers to prolong cold storage of produce backlogs, mitigating waste. The company has since developed Xtend bulk packaging solutions for lion’s mane, shiitake, and portabella.
“We use the Xtend solution for packing our oyster and portobella mushrooms and preserving the quality during shipment to the customers,” said Roni Sofer, vice president of marketing for Marina Galilee Mushrooms, Ltd., in a press release. “The results have been amazing, and overall, we have succeeded in preserving the freshness for more than 10 days and waste in our supply chain has reduced by more than 35% since we began. We strongly recommend to any mushroom grower or supplier to examine this solution.”
StePacPPC, with its partner Windham Packaging LLC has also completed adapting its Xflow brand of roll-stick films for automated packaging to meet the preservation needs of bulk fresh sliced white mushrooms. According to Fred Recchiuti of Basciana Foods, Xflow was able to preserve freshness of sliced mushrooms for as long as 18 days.