Improving the shelf life of mushrooms

Wednesday, 28 February, 2024

Improving the shelf life of mushrooms

StePacPPC has customised its modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) films to preserve fresh whole and sliced white mushrooms and whole exotic mushrooms, such as oyster, lion’s mane, shiitake, portabella and more. The lean MAP system fulfils demands for sustainable packaging that slows deterioration and dramatically reduces waste.

The appetite for mushrooms has been growing rapidly based on their health benefits, umami flavour and meaty texture, but they have a very short shelf life. This is a constant challenge for growers and shippers who are striving to improve mushroom storage capabilities and reduce waste.

Gary Ward, PhD, CTO for StePacPPC, said the short shelf life of mushrooms is due to their high metabolic activity.

“They also generate a lot of moisture during the respiration process, which encourages bacterial decay. On the other hand, they are also prone to dehydration, which causes them to shrivel, and they become discoloured due to oxidation. Sliced mushrooms are even more susceptible to a rapid decline in quality.”

StePacPPC’s customised packaging films are designed to slow decay and reduce weight loss, preserving texture, nutrition and flavour of the mushrooms.

The high water-vapour transmission rate of the films, coupled with the customised modified atmosphere properties, have been able to preserve the quality of both whole and sliced mushrooms, slowing respiration and aging, reducing dehydration and expelling excess moisture from the packaging.

According to Ward, this has stretched shelf life from a few days to over two weeks.

StePacPPC’s packaging first demonstrated its potential for mushroom preservation during the pandemic. Oyster mushroom farmers found themselves with backlogs of produce due to the logistical standstills. StePacPPC’s Xtend bulk packaging solutions were used to help prolong storage in cold storage, effectively mitigating waste.

The company has since developed Xtend bulk packaging solutions for lion’s mane, shiitake and portabella, reducing waste by over 35%.

StePacPPC and its partner Windham Packaging, LLC completed the application of its Xflow brand of roll-stock films for automated packing to meet the specific preservation needs of bulk fresh sliced white mushrooms.

The packaging formats can optionally be produced with 30% recycled material.

Image credit: StePacPPC.

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