Advance Packaging To Overcome Post-harvest Losses of Fruits and Vegetables in India


India is the second largest producer of horticultural crops after China. The production of vegetables and fruits is at a high rate but the major challenging task is the postharvest handling and processing of the products. Approximately 20–35% of the production is being wasted due to a lack of proper postharvest management.

Many developments were made to reduce this wastage such as cold chain development, different storage structures, some drying methodologies to promote the shelf life of produce. But all these systems need to be improved and utilized commercially. The losses still occur due to a lack of sound knowledge on the chemical nature of products and different management techniques (e.g. drying, cooling, blanching). Therefore, the successful design of the cooling, packing, storage transport, and drying processes of fresh food requires linking materials sciences, fluid dynamics, mechanical deformation, food chemistry, and process control. Due to insufficient knowledge of pre and post-harvest operations and lack of proper facilities for handling like pre-cooling, grading, packaging, transport, storage, processing, and marketing all together compound the post-harvest losses and wastage which in value terms accounts for more than 6,720,000.00 US dollars.

Packaging contains, protects, and preserves as well as informs to create convenience to consumers. Many companies apply packaging to create values beyond the basic components of containing, protecting, preserving, and informing. Recent progress in fruits packaging is resulting from the rising need for mild management techniques but with better shelf-life fruits and vegetables by the consumers. An important reason for innovative packaging is the emergence of fruits -borne microbial outbreaks that demand packaging with anti-microbial products to ascertain quality and safety. No hazardous components must touch within the packaging, and not get affected quality and its original appearance and taste. In addition, the fruits and vegetables should not cause any dis-colouring in the packaging. It is pertinent to mention that high-quality films serve to protect a product during transportation, distribution, and use.

The new food packaging techniques, such as intelligent packaging, bio-active packaging, and active packaging, which engage deliberate contact with the fruit or its surroundings and influence on consumer’s health have been the most important innovations in the field of packaging technology. Recently, the packaging process, biotechnology, sensor science, information technology, nanotechnology, and other scientific disciplines are coming together to develop a breakthrough in postharvest packaging systems. These improved postharvest handling techniques are continuously getting advanced by creating new opportunities in industries to utilize technologies in the future.

Proper and good packing is essential in providing quality products to customers. It is the connecting link between producers and consumers, so it must be done so perfectly to retain the product quality and also customer confidence. The packaging industry gets highly competitive due to consumer’s desire for tasty and slightly processed products with longer shelf life at a lower cost than their existing packaging. The recent trend in the change of lifestyle leads the horticulture industry well aware of consumer’s needs, and therefore, the packaging industry must innovate or stagnate. Consumers will often actively seek the freshness of the product with the longest remaining shelf life. Nowadays, novel food packaging technologies, such as active packaging, aseptic packaging, intelligent packaging, nano-packaging, and bioactive packaging intentionally associated with products have proved to be the best technological.

Advances in packaging technology may prevent spoilage by retarding water penetration, ultraviolet interactions, oxygenation, and ripeness. It is predicted that the future packing material includes radio frequency identification tags. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are advanced forms that can trace and identify a product. Therefore, continuous innovations in active and intelligent packaging systems are expected to secure fruit quality, safety, and stability and to satisfy the ever-growing need of consumers.


Anil Sharma1, Harsimrat K. Bons1 and  Injla Qadri2

1 Department of Fruit Science, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana

2Division of Fruit Plant Pathology, SKUAST-Kashmir

Email: sharmaanil.as724@gmail.com

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