By: Gaganpreet Kaur Saini
Agricultural products are highly perishable, which makes shelf life a vital issue for growers, processors and retailers. Shelf life itself is defined as the period of time a food has before it is considered unsuitable for sale or consumption, and, for fresh agricultural products, this can vary considerably, depending on multiple factors. The key consideration behind the post-harvest shelf life of agricultural products is the fact that they continue to function as living organisms via the respiration process even after they are gathered. Agricultural products respire after harvest by using stored energy and oxygen.
It’s important to extend the shelf-life of agricultural products not only to reduce food waste, but also to eliminate the risk of food-related illness from mould or pathogen contamination. Waste can have a significant financial impact on a food business, and substantial brand damage can occur if a business develops a reputation for consistently delivering inedible fruits and vegetables. Essentially, short shelf life significantly affects growers, processors, retailers and consumers alike. All these factors make considering new technologies to extend the shelf life of agricultural products a great idea.