Beating Waste, Naturally
Published: 1 Oct 2013
Naylors Farm near Spalding, Lincolnshire has invested in new innovative technology, Fresh Pod, in an effort to reduce waste whilst storing cabbages, cauliflowers and other fresh produce post harvest.
Using Fresh Pod technology Naylor's are looking to maintain freshness of cabbages and other produce by removing Ethylene from the stores as well as airborne spores, rots and moulds, all of which hasten the ripening process and leads to a loss of freshness.
Recent research has shown that over half the world's food production is wasted. Growers like Naylor's are forward thinking, looking at ways of reducing waste with a focus on Ethylene removal which has been identified as the primary culprit in premature ripening and spoiling of fresh produce before it can be consumed.
The presence of Ethylene causes fruits and vegetables to ripen and decay prematurely and floral products to wilt. There is no 'safe' level for ethylene and neutralising ethylene levels after picking will extend the life cycle of valuable commodities, allowing them to be held for a much longer period of time. Whilst control atmosphere storage slows decay, it does not prevent the production of ethylene.
Despite being a small country, where field-to-fork is achievable, the storage of fresh produce remains a problem. Temperature, ethylene, pests and micro-organisms are all able to decimate a crop both qualitatively and quantitatively. It is vital to ensure that produce is stored correctly, and it is here that big savings can be made. Temperature control has long been known to be effective at protecting food from deteriorating, whilst providing an environment which is hostile to micro-organisms and pests, but it is not a standalone solution - particularly when so much of the produce consumed in this country is now brought in from further afield.
Fresh Pod technology has been in use across the globe for many years. Developed in the San Joaquin Valley in California the technology has been a driving force behind protecting the local fresh produce industry from imported produce by extending storage periods and lessening the need to source fruit and vegetables outside of the country during the slow season.
Naylor's have continuously invested in technology and other equipment to deliver fresh produce in peak condition to customers across the UK, including processing houses, wholesalers and major supermarkets. A family business of four generations and started in the 1930's the business is currently owned and managed by father and son Brian and Simon.
Four FP1 filter machines have been installed in Naylor's store rooms. The machines will protect 1500 tonnes of produce from rots and moulds in the atmosphere as well as remove Ethylene. The organic system is completely safe and draws the gases and viruses from the atmosphere; there are no chemicals involved and no spraying to protect the produce. By keeping the atmosphere clear of such damaging agents the produce will stay in a crisp and fresh condition for longer.
Simon Naylor said "This proven technology has taken awhile to get through to the UK. Aside from the reduction in waste and the contribution to a greener environment, the cost savings in a competitive market are potentially enormous. Due to the effectiveness of the system the benefits are almost immediate - we are already noticing a reduction in odours as the machines kick in and remove the Ethylene and we are also seeing a reduction in white mould that we have experienced in the past.
We will be using the machines all year round as new crops are harvested. We can also use them for storing daffodils bulbs as it works just as well on flowers through their lifecycle."
Valerie Bullard, Fresh Pod said "We have been providing Fresh Pod protection to the consumer for a number of years in the UK. The time is now right to extend our range to assist with waste reduction and cost savings in the commercial world. We believe we have the most effective Ethylene control product on the market in terms of strength of product and value and we have a choice of storage solutions to work for growers, importers, exporters, retailers, wholesalers, catering and the consumer.