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Effects of Cooling Delays at the Wholesale Market on the Quality of Fruit and Vegetables after Retail Marketing

Li, Li, Lichter, Amnon, Kenigsbuch, David, Porat, Ron
Journal of food processing and preservation 2015 v.39 no.6 pp. 2533-2547
air conditioning, ambient temperature, apples, bananas, cabbage, cold storage, color, cooling, cucumbers, firmness, flavor, fruit quality, fruits, grapes, peaches, peppers, postharvest losses, retail marketing, supermarkets, tomatoes, weight loss, wholesale marketing
In commercial practice, fruit and vegetables are often stored at wholesale markets or supermarket logistics centers at ambient temperatures for certain times before retail marketing. We examined the effects of keeping various fruits (apples, bananas, peaches and grapes) and vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cabbages) for various periods of 0, 24, 48 or 72 h under cooling (6C), air conditioning (22C) or ambient temperatures (25–28C) on produce quality after a simulated retail marketing period of 3 days under air conditioning temperatures in the retail shop and 3 more days of refrigerated storage in the consumer's home. In general, prolonging the storage of the produce at the wholesale market, especially without proper cooling, led to increases in weight loss, decreases in firmness and flavor acceptability, changes in color, and increases in decay and physiological disorders. However, the observed effects depended on the tested produce. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: The present study demonstrated that in order to maintain produce quality and reduce postharvest losses, it is necessary to limit the storage of common commercial fruits and vegetables in wholesale markets or supermarket logistics centers to the minimum needed and not longer than 24 h. In case produce must be held in wholesale markets or supermarket logistics centers, it is necessary to store it at low cooling temperatures and not at air conditioning or ambient temperatures. Furthermore, we suggest that by means of proper logistics management, especially by ordering the proper amounts of produce, it will be possible to reduce the amounts of fruits and vegetables that are unnecessarily stored in wholesale markets or supermarket logistics centers, and thereby reduce the decline in quality and the extent of postharvest losses. Special attention must be given to susceptible produce with short storage lives, such as bananas, cucumbers and tomatoes.