As a consumer, there are many foods which I personally find frustratingly difficult to purchase and store without issues – today’s perfectly soft-but-firm avocado is tomorrow’s oxidized and mushy mess! Slowing down the ripening process can widen the time window by many times. For a business, when it comes to delaying spoilage of fresh produce, the reasons to engage are many, ranging from the lofty, like reducing global hunger and mitigating food waste, to the more concrete, like improving margins for producers and reducing costs for consumers.
Produce ripens in large part due to the effects of a phytohormone called ethylene – and ethylene’s ripening effects are similar across essentially all edible crops. There are really two approaches open to you if you wish to slow down nature’s seemingly inexorable march to over-ripeness: absorb the ethylene before it can act or protect the produce from absorbing it. As a bonus, coating produce can also protect it from surface damage, oxidation, and dehydration. Most major players have developed wax-based coatings, with AgroFresh, Pace International, and Decco as leaders in that space.
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