Strawberry Pallet Covers

Test Date: 15th of February, 2010
Tested materials: Tectrol®, CO2 West®, Peakfresh®, and PrimePro® pallet covers
Tested produce: Strawberries
Company: Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida.

Testing Method:

‘Albion’ fruit were harvested from the Dole farm near Watsonville, CA, and placed into clamshells. They were packed into fiberboard flats, and stacked on pallets according to commercial practice. Fruit were forced-air cooled at 32°F for 1.5 hours to an average pulp temperature of 33°F. Different cover systems (Tectrol®, CO2 West, Peakfresh®, PrimePro®) were then placed over pallets. Pads that released CO2 were placed inside the CO2 West cover. The Tectrol® cover was sealed to the pallet base and CO2 was injected inside. The systems other than Tectrol remained open at the base. Non-covered pallets acted as controls. Two or three pallets were used per system. Pallets were transported by refrigerated truck to the Kroger Co. Distribution Center near Atlanta, GA in 4 days.

Results:

In general, weight loss tended to be higher in fruit from uncovered pallets than in covered pallet fruit. The difference in weight loss was 0.18% between the minimum (Tectrol) and maximum (No bag).

The uncovered pallets had the highest percentage (66.7%) of clamshells with a quality score of less than or equal to 5, indicating the worst overall quality. Among the other treatments, CO2-West treatment had the lowest percentage (36.1%) of clamshells with quality scores of 5 or less, but the differences were not considered significant due to variability. Overall clamshell quality data indicated no significant difference among other types of pallet systems.

Decay incidence showed that there was no significant difference for strawberry between different types of bags: the range between min and max decay level was 6.7%.

Data presented have shown that:

  • Fruit from the covered pallets were firmer immediately after shipment than those from non-covered pallets, and this trend was largely maintained during shelf life.
  • There was no discernable difference in the eating quality of fruit sampled from the different pallet systems as judged by a 100-person consumer taste panel.

Adapted from: “Comparison of Strawberry Pallet Preservations Systems During Transportation,” Elizabeth Mitcham, Jeffrey Brecht, Malkeet Padda, Francine Pupin, Pavlos Tsouvaltzis, Angelos Deltsidis. Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis and Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida. February 2010. No endorsement implied or given.