In the Netherlands, apples and pears are stored after harvest so the fruit can be available year-round. Because it is currently impossible to predict the quality of fruit during storage, some batches of fruit are stored for too long. This results in storage losses. In this public-private partnership, we are therefore developing techniques to predict the storage potential of fruit.
In the Netherlands, 40 million kilos of apples and pears, with a value of 20 million euros, are discarded every year because they have become rotten during storage or have insufficient quality for retail. In addition, much fruit is thrown away by consumers because they are disappointed by the taste. Following a disappointing purchase, consumers are less likely to purchase the same product again. The result: additional losses in supermarkets because products cannot be sold quickly enough.
The fruit sector would therefore benefit from a method that can predict how the quality of the fruit changes during storage. This way, the ideal retail delivery time of the fruit can be determined, and the ideal storage conditions can be chosen. This means that constant quality – with fewer losses – can be guaranteed, ultimately resulting in increased fruit consumption. Due to the global food problem, limiting food waste is becoming increasingly important.
Developing techniques to predict the storage potential of fruit at harvest, and applying these techniques in practice to:
The project consists of two components:
- Developing detection tests for predicting fruit rot. To this end, separate tests that can be used immediately after harvest are being developed to detect various types of fruit-rot fungi. The results of the tests will be compared with the percentages of affected fruit in commercial storage. In addition, it will be determined which measures can be used to prevent fruit rot during storage.
- Develop a taste/quality prediction model. To this end, innovative measurement methods (including non-destructive methods) will be tested during the storage of diverse batches of fruit under various commercially-relevant storage conditions.