Smart Pouch Packaging Extends Shelf Life, Cuts Fresh Food Waste

Divine Flavor brand adopts StePac's Xgo modified atmosphere pouches that lower oxygen and increase carbon dioxide levels.

Divine Produce Xgo MAP pouches

A fresh produce packaging innovator, StePac, is gaining growing interest in the retail sector for the company’s functional standing pouches. The high-performance resealable bags are crafted with the company's proprietary Xgo advanced modified atmosphere/modified humidity (MA/MH) technology that significantly lengthens the shelf life of fresh produce and reduce waste in the supply chain as well as in consumers’ homes. The pouch enhances consumer experience and concurrently helps raise the fresh food packaging sector to greater ethical standards by contributing its part to the global waste reduction effort.

Divine Flavor, a San Diego-based, grower-owned distributor of fruits and vegetables and part of agro giant Grupo Alta, has already adopted StePac's new standing pouches. The attractively designed Xgo standing pouch is cleverly engineered to combine shelf-life extension capabilities by actively slowing the aging and ripening process, with convenience in an attractive "grab-n-go" retail packaging format.

Since 2010, Divine Flavor has taken advantage of StePac's Xtend line of bulk packaging for transporting its squash, cucumbers and bell peppers from growing regions in Mexico to USA. The company began testing the new Xgo standing pouches just over two years ago in a move to expand their line of high value products and bring differentiation of their brand by offering supermarkets a means of bringing the purposeful packaging benefits all the way from the farm to the consumer.

Xgo standing pouches allowed the company to shift to packing fresh produce in the final retail format at source. Impressed by the consistent performance, the Divine Flavor technical team fully adopted the protocol in 2020 for direct field-to-home refrigerator packaging of its Persian cucumbers for the US market. It is now arousing the interest of fresh produce distributers around the globe.

"The Xgo standing pouch is a remarkably high performing product, with an unrivalled ability to retain freshness and meaningfully extend product shelf life," says Michael DuPuis, quality assurance and public relations coordinator for Divine Flavors. "The feedback from customers has been excellent; they're happy with the quality and attractive appearance and the fact that it has that sustainability edge consumers are seeking."

The Xgo standing pouch life extension capabilities are due to unique properties inbuilt into the packaging matrix that functions to lower oxygen and increase carbon dioxide. This creates optimal conditions for slowing respiration and senescence (aging) in plant tissues and inhibits the growth of mold and other microorganisms, thereby preserving freshness and valuable nutrients. StePac technology limits dehydration and product weight loss during storage, shipment, and home use and has inbuilt condensation control, that ensures high visibility of the packed products even under challenging supply chain conditions.

Recyclable version available.

StePac's breakthrough pouches are resealable and are also available in fully recyclable formats, contributing to a circular economy. They can be decoratively printed for personal brands to evoke instant product recognition while on the shelves and come with a convenient grab handle.

"Our packaging designs have traditionally focused on the wholesale sector, offering a lean functional solution to bulk packaging of high-value fresh produce that can support long haul shipments as well as storage," says Gary Ward, Ph.D., business development manager for StePac, which is headquartered Teefen, Israel. "It already demonstrated abilities to extend shelf life by 50-100%, bringing promising support to food-waste reduction. In the midst of current Covid19 climate, concerns for food safety are driving demand for more retail packaging. We have purpose designed our packaging to preserve quality and reduce waste in the most sustainable way possible. We are increasingly venturing into the retail sector to bring this sustainable resource saving solution into consumers' homes."

StePac specializes in functional packaging for fresh produce. Its globally recognized brands include Xtend, Xgo, Xflow, and Xbloom modified-atmosphere/modified-humidity packaging solutions. These solutions reduce weight loss, slow respiration and aging, and inhibit microbial decay, while prolonging storability and shelf life.

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