In this sub-project, research is conducted into better management of the chain quality of tropical fruits. Papaya serves as a case study, with the aim of being able to offer a higher proportion of high-quality, ready-to-eat fruit to the retail sector and in turn, the consumer. Work is also being done to improve the shelf life of the incoming product so that losses are reduced.
The tropical fruit chain (papaya) is long and includes many links. That is why the chain perspective is extremely important in this project and an extensive overview of product and chain has been created on the basis of literature, previous research, and input from the project partners. This overview is the basis for creating a clearer understanding of the challenges and possible solutions for the chain.
The main areas of focus in the papaya supply chain are to delay ripening, reduce water loss (wrinkling), and reduce fungal infestation. As possible solutions, MA (Modified Atmosphere) packaging and containers with low pressure (RipeLockers) are being tested in sea transport from Brazil to the Netherlands. The quality of the fruits is measured upon arrival and during the simulated sale to the store and consumer. Both technologies yielded good results with regard to delaying ripening and reduced wrinkling of the fruits. In the upcoming trials, further optimisation will be sought with extra attention to reducing fungal infestation.