Water is an essential for fruit and vegetables and most life, but as condensation it’s the number one cause of premature molding, wilting, and spoilage of peel-less and packaged produce including berries, leafy greens, and mini cucumbers.
If that moisture could be mitigated, shelf life could be prolonged and food waste would be reduced.
Which is why food technology innovation company SavrPak, San Juan Capistrano, CA, is excited about the launch of SavrPak Drop-In, the world’s first moisture control technology that extends the shelf life and freshness of produce up to three times.
The SavrPak Drop-In is a thermodynamic, biodegradable, chemical-free pouch that’s placed in produce packaging before being sealed. In less than a minute, SavrPak’s Atmospheric Control and Transmission (ACT) technology removes 50% of condensation. It then continues to keep condensation from forming by absorbing excess moisture and purifying the atmosphere within the package to slow the aging process. By controlling the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, the moisture that leads to sogginess, mold, and harmful microbial bacteria is eliminated. This allows produce to maintain freshness up to three times longer than without.
The SavrPak Drop-In is a 2-inch by 4-inch pouch made of FDA approved food-grade, pulp-based materials. Primarily made of biodegradable plant-material, the pouch is placed in individual plastic produce packaging including berries in clamshells and bags of lettuce bags.
Insertion is done manually right now, “but automation is possible in the future,” says SavrPak Co-CEO Grant Stafford. “Our leadership team had prior experience with Miso Robotics.”
The cost is just pennies on the dollar. “It needed to be affordable so suppliers could afford to use it in places where refrigeration might be less common in transit,” adds Stafford.
The range of appropriate packaging includes vented clamshells, tubs, produce bags, and more.
“Our product is packaging agnostic,” Stafford explains, “but the more airtight the packaging, the better our technology works.”
From crisper pizza to crisper produce.
“We’re excited to be able to address an area of food preservation that has been unachievable to date, and that’s the ability to extend the life of peel-less produce like berries and leafy greens,” says Stafford. “Building on our success in foodservice delivery, we have successfully transformed the basic technology to address a category that lacked a solution to keep food fresh for longer while reducing food waste — a leading cause of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”
SavrPak's first product based on the technology keeps delivery pizza from arriving soggy and cold from condensation.
“Our flagship product, the SavrPak Peel & Stick, is a four-inch square pouch that’s placed on the inside of delivery and takeout food containers such as pizza boxes, clamshells, takeout boxes and bags to keep hot takeout food crisp and fresh — like it just came out of the kitchen,” Stafford tells us.
The foodservice product is used by restaurants in the US and 21 countries. A partnership with global foodservice distributor Sysco is expanding the technology to independent and regional restaurant chains nationwide.
The SavrPak Drop-In produce solution will first roll out in the US and Latin America with berry suppliers that have undergone successful trials proving the efficacy of the technology in extending the shelf-life of produce. Trials took place with Divine Flavor for table grapes, RCG Fruits for blackberries, and Agrovision for blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
Frubana, a farm-to-restaurant tech company, is also testing SavrPak’s thermodynamic technology with intent to maintain freshness of the produce it ships to restaurants throughout Latin America.
Dramatic trial results.
“We saw the most amazing results through our berry trials with SavrPak,” says Fernando Garibay, RCG Fruits general director. “Blackberries in particular are very delicate, and often experience postharvest reddening and other changes in visual appearance and taste which reduces marketability and results in waste. This is a challenge the industry has not been able to solve, but SavrPak proved to keep our berries’ beautiful color intact and kept them fresh for longer, maintaining the quality our customers count on.”
In preliminary trials, SavrPak has proven to extend the shelf-life of golden berries by 10+ days, blackberries 7+ days, raspberries 4-5+ days, and strawberries 4+ days. Similarly, in a 2021 lab test with University of California - Davis, romaine lettuce stored with SavrPak had significantly less condensation and moisture in the bags, and had lower water soaking, decay, and wilting scores compared to control samples. UC Davis also found that SavrPak decreased the bacteria found in lettuce across all storage protocols and evaluation days compared to control samples. In the coming months, SavrPak will begin cucumber trials with Agrizar.
It’s all part of the company’s grandiose plans to eliminate up to $78 billion in food waste globally one moisture-reduced package at a time.