Knowledge about the various post-harvest causes of quality reduction in vegetables, fruits and potatoes lays the foundation for new strategies to maintain quality.
The research at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research focuses on the optimisation and prediction of quality in the supply chain. This leads to better quality for fruit and vegetable products and less waste in the chain. We determine, among other things, the best storage conditions, packaging and logistics concepts, and define the relationship with the specific characteristics of different product types and varieties. We also develop quality models, which are used to predict the development of quality throughout the marketing chain.
The quality of fruit and vegetable products is determined by external, sensory and nutritional properties. To measure the impact of different storage and logistics scenarios, we quantify various quality indicators. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has a team of product experts who determine physical characteristics and deploy various equipment to measure product characteristics such as firmness, colour, flavour (sweet, acidic), aroma (gaseous aromatic substances) and components (e.g., antioxidants, vitamins , minerals, fibre).
New strategies in vegetables, fruit and potatoes
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops new concepts for preservation, packaging and transport. An understanding of the process of deterioration is essential for the development of these concepts. Our dynamic control systems allow us to store fruit at a lower oxygen level, for example, and thus minimise quality losses and energy consumption while prolonging shelf life. Packaging can be even better suited to the specificities of a product. We help companies to extend shelf life and limit waste by providing advice on different types of packaging materials.
In addition, we can use our knowledge to increase the distances over which fruit and vegetable products can be transported, e.g., by using other modes of transport (lorry, train, aircraft, boat). Another example is the joint transportation of a mix of products designed to minimise overall quality losses while reducing transport movements.
Developments in potatoes, vegetables and fruit
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has the latest analytical equipment at our disposal, allowing us to conduct a fundamental analysis of the ‘effects’ of fruit and vegetable products. This opens up new ways of gaining early insights into the quality of a product. The combination of cultivation information and post-harvest data also offers new opportunities to predict quality, which allows business processes to be adjusted accordingly. Thanks to this innovative approach, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research stays ahead of the curve in the potato, vegetable and fruit sectors.