Fresh cut flower packing app:

Fresh cut fruit & flower packing app manages entire fresh cut flower & fruit & vegetable processing, washing, sorting, cutting, chopping, and packing. Full inventory, traceability, and sales & shipping management.

Fresh cut flower packing app:

Fresh cut flower packing app:.  Software app for fresh cut flower & fruit  packing : grading, sorting, and processing.  Includes export, wholesale, and full packing management app.  Built around traceability & recalls:  bar-code inventory, B2B Customer Portal, Shop front,  FARM MANAGEMENT OPTION and more...  Farmsoft provides complete management for onion  packing, broccoli packing, citrus packing, pepper packing, tomato packing, avocado packing, potato packing.  Salad packing, Loose leaf lettuce and other fresh produce such as spinach, rucola, chicory, watercress.  Cucumber packing. Citrus packing app for lemon, orange, mandarin, tangerine, clementine.  Asparagus packing.  Onion inventory & storage.  Potato inventory storage app.  Potato traceability app for better packing & logistics.  Onion traceability management.  Carrot packing app for traceability & inventory control.  Bean packing solution.  Mango packing app for traceability.  Leafy greens packing, processing, washing, mixing leafy greens salads packing.  Seafood packing app for packers and processors of fresh and IQF seafood: full seafood inventory, traceability, seafood quality control, orders, sales, seafood shipping import/export.  Fresh cut packing app manages entire fresh cut fruit & vegetable processing, washing, sorting, cutting, chopping, and packing. Full inventory, traceability, and sales & shipping management.


Manage incoming Fresh cut packing inventory & storage inventory, capture supplier details, traceability and costs (optionally capture on PO in advance), create inventory & pallet labels, record storage location of inventory.  Automatic inventory audit trail and tracking.  Unlimited inventory items. Bar-code inventory management.


Perform stock-takes any time by category or storage location.  Know how much onion inventory you have in real time, even search by storage location.  Report by product line and storage location, or product category. 

FARM Management

Full farm record keeping, activity management, best practices, budgeting, time-sheets, machinery costs, inventory, cherry farm traceability, PHI/WHP management, and more... 

Sales, shipping,  orders

Print pick sheet to pick Fresh cut inventory & storage orders manually, or scan inventory / pallets onto orders, or auto select inventory,  or rapidly sell without an order.  Track paid, and unpaid invoices.  Attach documents to invoices / photos of outgoing shipments.

Traceability & recalls

Instant mock recalls both up and down the supply chain using keys based on supplier lot/batch, supplier name, delivery date, invoice #, inventory #, pallet #, customer reference, order # and more...  Reduces fresh produce food safety compliance costs and makes audits easy. Optional fresh produce blockchain by CHAIN-TRACE.COM

Invoices, BOL, labels for pallets & inventory

Choose from a gallery of invoices, bill of lading, freight notes, and industry standard fresh produce labels including Walmart, Tesco, Aldi, Coles, Pick 'n Save, Woolworths and more...

Reduce Fresh cut flower & fruit packing waste by 99%

Packing inventory control ensures there is no 'shrinkage', food inventory is FIFO managed, and expiring inventory always monitored.

Reduce Fresh cut flower & fruit    administration time by 60%

Automatic paperwork for packing, labels, and reporting reduces the burden on administration teams and saves everyone's time.

Better Fresh cut flower & fruit packing quality now

Quality control and food safety has never been easier with industry standard quality tests, food safety checklists; or configure your own tests. 

100% accurate Fresh cut flower & fruit packing orders!

Guarantee only the correct inventory is shipped for each order, on time, every time.

Easy Fresh cut flower & fruit packing & storage

Perform instant mock recalls and audits at any time, from anywhere. No need to compile reports or search for documents. International food safety standards maintained.

Reduce Fresh cut flower & fruit packing  & storage inventory stocking costs by 10%

Project required ingredients & materials to ensure just in time delivery and reduce inventory overheads & waste.

Faster Fresh cut flower & fruit packing  inventory control

Know exactly which inventory is available, where it is, and when it expires:  any-time, anywhere.
No need to manually create reports in spreadsheets, instant real time access to your inventory details.

100% accurate Fresh cut flower & fruit packing production management

Rapidly assign customer orders to production batches, line & inventory managers receive instant alerts.  Precision processing & packing reduces fresh produce waste.

Farmsoft fresh produce app  delivers fresh produce packing, for cherry, berry, onion packing, pepper & capsicum packing, avocado, potato packing, broccoli, salad, spinach, loose leaf lettuce, cucumber, tomato packing, citrus, garlic, asparagus, onion inventory storage, potato inventory storage, carrot, bean, mango, seafood packing.   
The app also manages fresh cut flower, food service, coleslaw & slaw packing, banana, orange, lemon, lime, grape, seed, stone-fruit, cauliflower, strawberry, fresh produce ERP, flower packing
Fresh produce quality control is made easy with Farmsoft:  Farm management appMeat packing app for beef poultry seafood.

Fresh produce traceability app by Farmsoft provides potato traceability, onion traceability, tomato, fresh produce blockchain traceability, pepper & capsicum traceability, carrot, salad, leafy green, citrus, cucumber, asparagus traceability, seafood traceability app, fresh cut traceability, food service traceability app, coleslaw traceability, strawberry, banana, grape, seed, flower, loose leaf, QC, fresh produce barcode.  
Fully integrated traceability software manages meat traceability app for slaughterhouses, low cost meat packing, meat packing software, meat packing quality control, meat packing hardware requirements, slaughterhouse software, beef packing software solutions.

Additional traceability for farm to fork traceability, fresh produce profit analysis, chili processing, fresh produce production planning, fresh produce RFID, blockchain fresh produce, fresh produce supply chain planning, fresh produce sales solution, packhouse management software, fresh produce traceability app, fruit vegetable inventory management for fresh produce stock control fruit packing system for packhouse processing of onion storage and quality.  

Walmart food safety compliance app for date plantation software, SENASA, fresh produce RFID app, perishable inventory management software, fresh produce API integration, coleslaw production, XERO for fresh produce packers, inventory management app for fresh produce waste reduction.
Woolworths fresh produce compliance and Woolworths food handling compliance, Coles compliance, Coles labels, fresh cut packing storage traceability, post harvest traceability software, potato packing system, simple traceability solution, save time efficient inventory.

Reduce errors in fresh produce packing and processing, increase accuracy of fresh produce shipping, reduce administration costs fresh produce packing, less fresh produce waste, avocado software, potato solution, carrot solution, broccoli control, mango processing quality, apple packing and processing, pepper packing app by farmsoft, chili packing app, chili powder app, hot pepper sauce manufacturing.

Farmsoft vertical farming app, farm traceability app, farm budgeting, farm quality, farm inventory, farm diary, farm land management.

Download Farmsoft Brochures:   Fresh produce app    |    Meat packing app    |    Farming app    |     Fresh produce RFID   
Implement Farmsoft fresh produce apps to increase fresh produce business productivity in fruit & vegetable packhouse: reduce fresh produce waste, food safety compliance, for easy traceability, automatic inventory control, simple quality control, rapid recall and mock recalls, and 100% accurate shipping, meat packing app, optional farming app.

Farmsoft QC Quality Inspection app makes fresh produce quality control rapid and accurate for all fresh produce packers:  cherry, berry, onion, pepper & capsicum, avocado, potato quality, broccoli, salad quality inspection, spinach, lettuce, cucumber, tomato quality, citrus, asparagus, garlic quality inspection app, carrot quality, bean, mango, leafy greens, fresh cut quality inspection, food service quality app, coleslaw quality, strawberry quality inspection app, grape quality, meat quality control app, flower quality.

The fresh-cut packaging revolution is most noticeable in bagged salads, where the moisture-controlled plastic bags created a whole new category. However, it’s since moved into many additional sections of the produce department. What do executives need to know about it? And what does the future of fresh-cut packaging look like?

Jacob Shafer, senior communications specialist with Mann Packing, a Salinas, CA-based provider of fresh and ready-to-use fresh-cut vegetables, provides a basic definition: “Fresh-cut packaging allows manufacturers to sustain product quality and provide consumers with a fresh experience without the use of preservatives.” Jeffrey Brandenburg, president of the JSB Group, a Greenfield, MA-based consulting firm specializing in package design/technology and food safety, has a more in-depth explanation for what he refers to as modified atmosphere packaging. “Almost always, you’re packaging something that’s inert,” he says. “It just sits there. With produce, it’s alive and breathing. It breathes in oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. Once you seal the bag, the atmosphere begins to change; and by definition, you’re in a modified atmosphere package. The trick with modified atmosphere packaging is designing a package around that breathable produce that achieves an optimal modified atmosphere with steady conditions that extend the shelf life.”

According to Brandenburg, a good modified atmosphere package will do three things. “By reducing the oxygen, you put the produce to sleep. You slow down its physiologic properties, and that extends the shelf life. By getting the oxygen down below 3 percent, you reduce enzymatic browning reactions or ‘pinking.’ By increasing the carbon dioxide in the package, you also slow down the growth of spoilage bacteria, as well as yeast and mold.”

“The trend toward fresh-cut packaging is in response to the increase in demand of grab-and-go eating patterns among consumers,” says Jack Tilley, market research manager at Inline Plastics Corp., which designs and manufactures clamshells and two-piece packaging. The company is based in Shelton, CT. “These can be time-stressed parents who want to grab something healthy for themselves or their family, as well as Millennials, who often embrace four to five smaller meals during the day, which translates to more snacking occasions.”

Steamable Packaging
A fresh-cut packaging type that’s been around for a while but is getting more popular is steamable packaging. “As ready-to-eat foods get more popular, consumers are flocking to vegetables that can be steamed in the packaging,” says Shafer. That can include cut vegetables, such as broccoli florets or green beans, or whole foods like microwavable sweet potatoes.

Stores that want to create their own steamable vegetable packets should take care to select the right type of packaging. “You want the container to be able to sustain the heat so it doesn’t melt all over the product,” says Brandenburg.

Anti-Fogging Properties
Fogging occurs when water beads up on the front of the bag. It doesn’t affect the quality of the produce at all. However, “a fogged container reduces the merchandising value of the product because consumers can’t judge the quality of the food contents,” says Tilley.

To create anti-fogging bags, manufacturers typically coat the material with a chemical from the surfactant family. The chemical changes the surface tension of the water. “It’s the same idea as wax on a car,” says Brandenburg. “The chemical makes the water lie flat instead of beading so you can still see through it.”

Micro Perforated Bags
Mann's Fresh Cut BroccoliBesides using bags with an anti-fogging agent, Tilley says a good way to deal with fogging issues is to offer containers with venting to release outgassing from produce outside the container.

Another option for venting is micro perforation. “Micro perforated bags have tiny holes not visible to the eye that allow gases to move in and out,” says Brandenburg. “They’ve been around for a while, but they’re getting much more accurate.”

A newer technology is bags with breathable membranes. “They can adjust their breathability with the temperature,” says Brandenburg. “So if the produce gets warm, the membrane allows more gas to move in and out.”

“The pouch bags make it a lot easier to display products on the shelf. For grapes and cherries, it also helps as a safety issue. You don’t have loose grapes rolling all over the place like you did years ago.”
— Rick Rutte, North State Grocery
Packaging Geometry
Brandenburg calls fresh-cut packaging in the form of stand-up pouches “the most innovative thing that’s come along in a while. It’s not the packaging per se, it’s the new geometry.”

“The pouch bags make it a lot easier to display products on the shelf,” says Rick Rutte, produce director for North State Grocery, which operates stores under the names Holiday Markets and SAVMOR, and is headquartered in Cottonwood, CA. “For grapes and cherries, it also helps as a safety issue. You don’t have loose grapes rolling all over the place like you did years ago.”

The other advantage to the pouch bags is the ability to print brand names and marketing messages on them. “We do really well with Welch’s grapes when we have California grapes in season,” says Rutte. “That Welch’s label is obviously well-known. It gives that sense of freshness and quality. Companies are also able to provide recipes or health information on the back of the bag.”

“The quality of the graphics, the message that’s getting across and the brand management is becoming a big part of produce packaging,” says Brandenburg. “It’s all about differentiating yourself from your competition and having it pop at the retailer so it’s noticeable.” Being able to print on packaging also helps from a regulatory standpoint, he adds. Printable packaging can be used to share details such as country of origin, allergens and food safety information.

Fruit In Fresh-Cut Packaging
Because bagged salads have been such a hit, people tend to think of fresh-cut packaging as a way to manage vegetables. But placing fruit in modified atmosphere packaging is a big part of the market segment.

“You’re going to see more and more different types of produce items in packages, and in different configurations — shredded, chopped, sliced, etc.”
— Jeffrey Brandenburg, JSB Group
“Fruit tends to be the strongest in-house category we do,” says Jeff Fairchild, produce director for New Seasons Market, a 20-store chain headquartered in Portland, OR. “That stands in contrast to most vegetables. We’ve found it’s a good skinny category,” he says. “We haven’t found that the sales continue to ramp up.”

Rutte agrees the fruit category is an important one. North State Grocery has been purchasing fresh-cut packaged fruit for a year now and the program has grown. “I see a lot of people buying it for lunches,” he says.

The store doesn’t add its own marketing materials to the packages, but it does have a marketing program. “If there’s something I want to promote, I’ll have in-store signage in the refrigerator case,” he says. “The signage on the doors draws attention.”

Uniquely Cut Vegetables
Mann's Sweet Potato RibbonsAs gluten-free, Paleo and other diets gain in popularity, many shoppers are looking to substitute vegetables where they used to use carbohydrates. Produce departments can cash in on this trend by selling spiralized vegetables, cauliflower “rice” and similar products in fresh-cut packaging.

“Spiralized vegetables like zucchini and sweet potatoes have done pretty well,” says Fairchild. “Those have a pretty strong pull right now.”

“You’re going to see more and more different types of produce items in packages, and in different configurations — shredded, chopped, sliced, etc.,” says Brandenburg. “There will be more and more blends, even whole meals where you make a mixture of produce, protein and carbohydrates. We’ve seen some of that, but I think you’ll see more of it. That’s something that’s been very common in Europe for a long time.”

Sustainable Packaging
Another area of growing interest is sustainable packaging. “Shoppers are very conscious of it,” says Rutte, especially his organic customers.

Some eco-friendly fresh-cut packaging does exist already. NatureWorks LLC, Minnetonka, MN, manufactures film and sheets for rigid packaging under a product line called Ingeo. “Plants produce sugar in the form of starch,” says Stefano Cavallo, global segment lead for films and cards at NatureWorks. “The starch is fermented using advanced and patented processes and eventually polymerized into Ingeo plastic pellets.” Those pellets are then sold to converters and turned into the materials produce managers see on their shelves.

“Ingeo films use 50 percent less non-renewable energy and results in 75 percent less greenhouse gases to manufacture than films made from non-renewable fossil carbon,” says Cavallo.

The company is also working to develop a film that may be as much as 50 percent thinner than current polypropylene film. “Thinner film contributes to more sustainable packaging through less material sourced,” says Cavallo. “In terms of film used for commodity products, consumers care about freshness, not necessarily what those films are made of,” he adds. “For differentiated high-end organic products, which command higher prices for product and package, the fact that they are packaged using renewably sourced plastic helps generate consumer satisfaction.”

JSB Group’s Brandenburg sees demand for eco-friendly packaging growing. He also sees more interest in using science to deliver packaging that fits with other consumer demands, including products with antimicrobial properties.

No matter what type of bag or box a product is packaged in, the best way to keep its contents fresh is to store correctly. “That affects shelf life more than anything else,” says Brandenburg. Generally, bags and containers should be kept at less than 5 degrees C.

Today's consumers shopping the produce section of the grocery store have high demands of their fruits and vegetables. The items must be fresh and minimally processed, have an extended shelf-life, and look pretty to boot. One way that CPG companies can achieve all of the above for fresh-cut produce is by leveraging modified atmosphere packaging technologies.

Interested in MAP solutions but now sure where to start?

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What is modified atmosphere packaging?
Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a collection of packaging modifications that work to create or maintain an atmosphere inside of a package which controls and slows oxidation of fresh food. Oxidation of food results in spoilage, off-textures, offensive odors, and discoloration. Think lettuce turning brown or apples becoming gritty in texture. By preventing oxidation, the useful life of fresh products is greatly extended and their visual presentation is preserved.

Below are some examples of widely-used types of modified atmosphere packaging used in fresh cut packing:

Gas (nitrogen) flush. This component of a packaging system pumps harmless nitrogen gas into the package to displace oxygen right before sealing.
One-way valves. Often used in the coffee industry, these plastic valves allow gases to escape the package without letting anything else in.
Barrier packaging materials. These special packaging films provide decreased permeability to oxygen and/or moisture.
Desiccant packs. Often found inside pill bottles, desiccant packs absorb ambient oxygen or moisture.
For an in-depth explanation of modified atmosphere packaging technologies, see our guide here.

Why is MAP so important for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables?
Fresh-cut fruits and vegetables have a high respiration rate, meaning they spoil and discolor quickly when exposed to oxygen. Because fresh produce is minimally processed and contains few (if any) preservatives, modified atmosphere packaging technologies must take on the role of 'preserver'.

For CPG companies, the extended shelf life created by modified atmosphere packaging means an enhanced product lifespan, wider geographic distribution of their product, and brand exposure to a larger audience. Bottom line: It increases their bottom line.

For consumers, modified atmosphere packaging enables them to maintain a healthy diet in a convenient manner. It's no longer necessary to stop at the grocery store for fresh produce multiple times per week. Now, consumers can stock up in greater quantities knowing that the product will remain fresher longer.

For society at large. extending the shelf life of fresh produce allows for wider access to healthy foods and increased food security. Food waste is also decreased when produce can remain viable for a longer period of time.

What is the history of MAP for fresh produce?
Modified atmosphere packaging for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables was developed in the early twentieth century and is widely used today. Here's a short history of the advancements in this field:

1930s: Ships transporting fruits maintained high concentrations of carbon dioxide in storage rooms to extend shelf-life of products.

1940s – 1950s: Fresh apples and pears were stored in a warehouse with high levels of carbon dioxide to slow respiration. They could be eaten as many as 6 months after harvest.

1950s – 1960s: Whirlpool Corporation developed methods to replace air inside bulk shipping containers of produce with different gases.

1990s: UK supermarkets Tesco and Asda began packaging fresh-cut fruits and vegetables in modified atmospheres. In North America, modified atmosphere packaging really began to take hold when McDonald’s began using MAP to extend shelf-life of their bulk lettuce and produce.

2000s: Rapid growth is seen in demand for fresh, natural produce with extended shelf-life, leading to increased adoption of MAP for fresh-cut produce.

2010s - today: Convenience, healthy lifestyles, and the demand for preservative-free food are major contributors to the continued growth of MAP for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

How is MAP used in packaging fresh-cut fruit and vegetables?
Modified atmosphere packaging maintains or decreases ambient oxygen within a package to levels that are conducive to extending shelf life. In general, oxygen levels of 1 - 5% are enough to delay oxidation of fresh produce. At concentrations below 8%, ripening and maturation can be delayed.

The below list describes the approximate storage life of different kinds of produce when using MAP technologies under optimal conditions:

Apples: 2 - 11 months (1 - 2% oxygen levels)
Bananas: 15 days (2 - 5% oxygen levels)
Lettuce: 3 - 4 weeks (1 - 3% oxygen levels)
Onions: 8 months (1 - 2% oxygen levels)
To achieve these low oxygen levels, nitrogen gash flush is often utilized for packaging fresh-cut fruits and vegetables. A nitrogen generator is integrated with a packaging machine and pumps nitrogen gas into each package after filling and right before sealing.

Many produce companies are also seeing the added value of investing in high barrier packaging materials that feature low oxygen transfer rates (OTR). These films have low oxygen permeability which provides a higher level of protection against oxidation.

Fresh-cut-produce-associated foodborne outbreaks are a major public health concern worldwide. Recent foodborne outbreak statistics showed that there is an increasing trend in fresh-cut produce-linked outbreaks mostly associated with Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 as the causative agents. There are multiple sources of contamination for fresh produce during preharvest and harvest–postharvest stages of production. Both endophytic and epiphytic colonization have been reported for foodborne pathogenic bacteria in fresh produce. The endophytic colonization occurs through natural openings, damaged tissue, and chemotaxis. The mechanisms of attachment for epiphytic colonization mainly include curli, fimbriae, flagella, and biofilm formation. Once attached onto the injured parts of the tissue, pathogenic bacteria can grow to high numbers in fresh fruits and vegetables. The interaction of the bacterial cell with the damaged plant tissue can result in the upregulation of genes involved in attachment, virulence, and resistance to oxidative antimicrobial agents. This represents a major challenge for the fresh-cut industry, as oxidative sanitizers are mainly used for the sanitization of fresh-cut produce, especially leafy greens.

Packaging design for fresh cut fruit and vegetable:
Ready-to-eat, fresh-cut consumer products are one of the few segments within the industry that has shown consistent growth within the last few years. Cutting however, increases senescence rate and the shelf life of the products can be very limited. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), combined with a good cold chain can extend the shelf life, but challenges still exist, due to fresh-cut products containing much higher respiration rates due to the cell stress, caused by cutting.

Ready-to-eat, fresh-cut consumer products are one of the few segments within the industry that has shown consistent growth within the last few years. Cutting however, increases senescence rate and the shelf life of the products can be very limited. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), combined with a good cold chain can extend the shelf life, but challenges still exist, due to fresh-cut products containing much higher respiration rates due to the cell stress, caused by cutting.

Ready-to-eat, fresh-cut consumer products are one of the few segments within the industry that has shown consistent growth within the last few years. Cutting however, increases senescence rate and the shelf life of the products can be very limited. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), combined with a good cold chain can extend the shelf life, but challenges still exist, due to fresh-cut products containing much higher respiration rates due to the cell stress, caused by cutting.

A high respiring product inside a low permeability film means anoxia soon establishes (absence of oxygen) conditions, under which very dangerous pathogens thrive (e.g. lysteria). Towards the end of 1996, we witnessed the largest outbreak ever recorded in the UK. This originated in Wishaw (Lanarkshire), southwest Scotland. Although the source of infection was traced to cold cooked meats, it is an alarm for other food products like fresh cut fruits and vegetables. There was an outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium in the United States indicating that tomatoes consumed at restaurants are the food responsible for this outbreak (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, October, 1996).

The MAP technique means that the product is packed in a permeable package and preferably stored at refrigerated temperature. The gas composition inside the package is modified to the optimum level for the packaged product, generally low O2 and high CO2, as shown in Figure 1. This passive/natural modification relies on the interplay between the product respiration rate and the gas exchange rate through the package. Proper MAP design is required to achieve the optimal atmosphere by considering the factors shown in Figure 2. A MAP system, if not designed correctly, may be ineffective or even shorten the storage life of a product. The existing commercial packages deviated from the optimum conditions of MAP (Figure 1). This shortens the shelf life with poor quality product and possibility of infection. Simulation is a valuable tool in this context. The shelf-life and packaging group led by Prof. Fernanda Oliveira at University College Cork, Ireland have developed user-friendly software for packaging design for fresh-cut produce. The group is also actively involved in analysis of respiration rate of fresh-cut produce and Perforation-Mediated MAP (PM-MAP) which is an alternative to conventional MAP.

Bursting into a leadership slot in the United States’ growing $80-billion fresh produce industry is the often-overlooked $12.5-billion segment of pre-washed, pre-cut, and actively packaged fruits, vegetables, and ready-to-eat salads.

“Fresh-cut” produce delivers convenience plus a relatively easy way to increase consumer consumption of allegedly “healthy” fruits and vegetables. It has established a new paradigm in the consumption of fruits and vegetables, so much so that most members of new generations may never see or know a head of lettuce or broccoli or cauliflower.

Fresh-cut produce sales have grown from near zero as recently as 1985 to $5 billion at retail and $7.5 billion in foodservice in 2004. Whether at or away from home, salads from fresh produce are rapidly moving toward the center-of-the-plate. With 37% growth in 2003, salads led the National Restaurant Association’s list of menu items ordered most often by diners.

But what is being ordered is not your ordinary garden variety salad. Increasingly, foodservice chefs, cooks, and managers are devising more-elaborate, sophisticated offerings across all levels of retail establishments. In the home, after potatoes, vegetable salads are the most likely side dishes.

With only about $200 million in sales last year, projected sales for fresh-cut fruit will range up to $2 billion by 2008. The relatively high water and sugar content of fresh-cut fruits present chilled shelf life challenges. Liquid loss from fresh-cut fruit (including tomatoes) is generally high and must be controlled to enable convenient use. Experiences from vegetables, however, can be and are being applied to fresh-cut fruits. Except for melons with their high pH, safety and extended refrigerated shelf life are not as great an issue as is the answer to the question, “Does the produce present the target consumer a good experience?”

In the era before minimal processing and packaging, shrink—product loss due to spoilage during distribution—probably ran about 30%. Lettuce, tomatoes, and apples account for 70% of retail sales. Salad mixes today are often blends of green vegetables packaged in kits that combine tomatoes and other precut vegetables; packages of croutons, nuts or dried fruits, and salad dressings; and even cheese and/or meats, prepackaged to protect against the moisture of the produce and prolong the chilled shelf life.

Modified-atmosphere technologies for preservation and packaging of fresh-cut vegetables have pushed shelf life—always chilled, preferably at temperatures near 32°F— to 15–21 days, depending on the produce. Refrigerated shelf life for fresh-cut fruits has already crept up to 10 days or more, again depending on the fruit.

Fresh-Cut Opportunities
Several fresh-cut produce manufacturers envision opportunities for salads with protein accompaniments, such as meats and cheeses, to find a broader role in prepared foods or in the retail delicatessen departments where consumers perceive salads as entrées or main dish items. An increasing number of food processors are developing and marketing enhanced fresh-cut vegetables as meal side dishes. Fresh-cut vegetable producers will be promoting their fresh-cuts as side dishes by offering partially cooked or cook-chilled dishes with multiple ingredients.

• Foodservice Products. The rapidly expanding foodservice consumes about 60% of fresh-cut vegetable and fruit production, mostly for pre-washed, pre-cut pre-packaged lettuce and other greens, tomatoes, and onions for side and now main course salads. Nearly every major quick-service restaurant now offers fruit-and vegetable-based salads.
rom acknowledging a major growing food product category into the sciences and their applicable technologies. Fresh-cut, almost unknown 20 years ago, dominates future thinking and implementation, driven by consumer demand, industry research and response, and a fundamental series of technologies from the processing and packaging resources around the world.

Meeting retailer and consumer desire for quality and convenience has led industry professionals to identify the deteriorative vectors and means to control them through integration of environmental alterations. The comprehension of fresh-produce respiration and its control represents technological progress in which bold moves into process control and packaging were married to deliver added-value food products.

And the same forces are poised to drive further into the realms of convenience—to attempt to move fresh-cut far beyond side dishes into main-meal eating experiences. It is not easy, but it is truly food product and packaging development at its classical best.