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New cooling technique extends the shelf life of fresh produce

Published: 21-08-2014

Permachill is a new cooling technology developed by the Dutch food innovation company TOP bv. The technology cools in a stable manner, which makes it possible to achieve the same optimum temperature of just above zero degrees Celcius everywhere in the refrigerator. As a result, the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables will last longer; and there will be less waste in comparison to conventional techniques. This is from an economic and sustainable point of view a very interesting solution for all stakeholders in the fresh produce supply chain.

Evenly cooling and everywhere the same temperature
Conventional cooling techniques cool products at a temperature of 4 to 7 °C through air-cooling. The airflow causes temperature fluctuations that may even result in freezing damage to the delicate product. Permachill does not work with a central cooling unit but uses the walls of the room as refrigerants. This makes it possible to cool the products evenly and to keep them cool at a stable temperature. And makes it possible to achieve the optimum temperature, which for most products is just above zero degrees, without the risk of freezing. The product goes into hibernation and thus remains fresh a few days longer.

Sustainable and economic benefits
The technique can be applied to refrigerated storage, but also to refrigerated transport. In fact, each link in the supply chain can benefit from a longer shelf life of fresh produce. In addition to the costs saved through less waste and better product quality, it makes the logistical process more flexible. This makes centralized production possible and a wider geographic market area accessible, which means new markets and thus potential growth. In addition, the system consumes less energy than conventional cooling methods, which contributes to the sustainability of the chain.

Total supply chain approach the end goal
In the most ideal situation Permachill is used in every link of the supply chain. Wouter de Heij, director of TOP bv: “Individually, the various stakeholders in the fruit and vegetables chain are becoming more efficient and professional. But there is still much to be gained in a chain-wide approach. By continuous stable cooling throughout the chain the product shelf life can be extended significantly. ”

Calculate the shelf life gains
TOP bv also introduces an accompanying webapp (online calculation method) on the website of Permachill (www.permachill.eu). It calculates the potential shelf life gains that can be achieved by using Permachill refrigeration on fruit and vegetables. For example, the effect on lettuce is clearly visible in comparison with conventional cooling: The shelf life suddenly extends with three days. This app allows potential users of the system to extensively orientate themselves on the cooling technology and to see what it can do for their business.

Top BV