Advanced packaging systems are required to ensure the quality of fresh produce for consumers who often purchase the products several days after harvest. Supply chain distances are expanding to increase gains in geographical market share for fresh produce growers which require a longer shelf life to present the product to consumers in marketable condition. Compared to traditional packaging systems microperforation locks in nutrients allows breathability and extends the shelf life of the produce without having to add preservatives. Currently most if not all microperforated systems are petroleum-based and thus not environmentally advantageous. Michigan State University’s microperforated PLA packaging system is a bio-based environmentally advantageous system for packaging fresh produce. The invention enables even greater shelf-life extension than standard petroleum-based microperforated systems. The microperforated PLA system has been shown empirically to have a lower water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) than microperforated petroleum-based film and to reduce product weight loss from produce both of which translate to less wilting and extended shelf life. This improved and environmentally advantageous system is used to make semi-rigid containers with microperforated flexible lids and microperforated flexible pouches for packaging a wide array of fresh produce. Applications: The MSU microperforated PLA packaging system is intended for post-harvest conservation packaging for all types of fresh produce. The technology is specifically applicable where equilibrium modified atmosphere packaging (EMAP) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) systems are employed. IP Protection Status: Patent pending
(1) Extended marketability/shelf-life for fresh produce: System has been shown to enable shelf-life extension greater than microperforated petroleum-based systems. (2) Reduces cost associated with using preservatives: System has been shown to slow fungal rot in strawberries. (3) Environmentally friendly material: PLA is a bio-based biodegradable compostable material and more environmentally advantageous than petroleum-based packaging systems.