Food and Beverage Business

StepacPPC’s sustainable packaging extends the shelf life of exotic mushrooms

StepacPPC's sustainable packaging extends the shelf life of exotic mushrooms exotic mushrooms, shelf life, sustainable packaging Food and Beverage Business

StePacPPC has customized its award-winning modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) films to preserve fresh whole and sliced white mushrooms, as well as whole exotic mushrooms like oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, and portabella. The company’s lean MAP system slows deterioration and significantly reduces waste of this highly perishable item.

The demand for mushrooms continues to grow rapidly due to their health benefits and their appeal as a vegan source of meaty umami flavor and texture. However, mushrooms have a very short shelf life, presenting a challenge for growers and shippers striving to improve storage capabilities and reduce waste.

StePacPPC’s latest advancement in its packaging formats is designed specifically to maintain the freshness of both whole and sliced white mushrooms, as well as whole exotic mushrooms. These custom films significantly slow decay and reduce weight loss of these culinary delicacies, preserving texture, nutrition, and flavor while effectively diminishing waste and cost.

According to data by Emergen Research, the global mushroom market size is valued at more than $50 billion, with expectations to more than double by 2030. Despite the increasing demand, the highly perishable nature of mushrooms, combined with the challenges of maintaining their shelf life, has hindered their full market potential.

Gary Ward, Ph.D., CTO for StePacPPC, explains, “Mushrooms have high metabolic activity and respiration rates, giving them a short shelf life. On the other hand, they are prone to dehydration, discoloration, and rapid decline in quality. Sliced mushrooms are even more susceptible to deterioration.”

StePacPPC’s films, in combination with customized modified atmosphere properties, have proven ideal for preserving the quality of both whole and sliced mushrooms, slowing respiration and aging, reducing dehydration, and expelling excess moisture from the packaging.

The company’s packaging first demonstrated its potential for mushroom preservation during the Covid pandemic, where it helped oyster mushroom farmers manage backlogs of produce due to logistical standstills. Since then, StePacPPC has developed bulk packaging solutions for other exotic mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, shiitake, and portabella.

More recently, the company completed the adaptation of its Xflow brand of roll-stock films for automated packing to meet the specific preservation needs of bulk fresh sliced white mushrooms. This newest innovation is already gaining momentum in North America, preserving the quality of bulk-packed sliced mushrooms for foodservice outlets such as restaurants and hotels.

The lean and sustainable packaging formats can optionally be produced with 30% recycled material to support a circular economy, in conjunction with its longstanding use of mechanically recycled content.

“Our highly functional packaging solution has been tailored to dramatically improve inventory management and storability of mushrooms, enabling stakeholders to prolong storage in times of glut and preserve their quality along the supply chain. This, in turn, will boost marketability and consumer experience,” Ward concludes.

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