In the Netherlands, we reap the benefits of the agricultural expertise we have built up over the centuries on a daily basis. Not only on our own soil, but all over the world, people enjoy potatoes, fruit and vegetables grown in the Netherlands. However, the proper storage and transport of these products is complicated and can lead to high failure rates if errors are made. In this article you can read what you should take into account when transporting potatoes, fruit and vegetables nationally and internationally.
Market of potatoes, fruit and vegetables
The Netherlands is large in the export of fruit, vegetables and potatoes. The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products after the US. Looking at recent developments, we see a decrease in cut flower exports and other ornamentals in the first quarter of 2020 compared to 2019. Strikingly enough, on the other hand, for fruit and vegetables we see an increase in export value (CBS, 2020). In our own country, too, we benefit from home-grown fruit, vegetables and potatoes.
After harvesting, AGF products are often quickly transported to their destination. After all, the longer we wait, the greater the risk of quality loss. But what are the optimum environmental conditions for potatoes, fruit and vegetables, and how do you guarantee the quality of these products during transport? We would be happy to tell you more about this.
Transporting potatoes, fruit and vegetables nationally and internationally
In the world of potatoes, fruit and vegetables, claims for rejected products that do not arrive at the desired quality level are unfortunately not rare. When storage and transport conditions are not optimal, the quality of these products can quickly deteriorate, resulting in failure. This quickly concerns quantities of 20-30% of the total harvest.
Fruit, vegetables and potatoes are particularly sensitive to the following external factors:
- Temperature changes. During transport, fresh produce can be exposed to various external conditions. For example, due to transfer from one vehicle to another. However, large fluctuations in temperature are detrimental to quality.
- Temperatures that are too high. Vulnerable fresh products such as soft fruit and mushrooms should be cooled immediately after harvesting. This slows down spoilage. The optimum cooling temperature varies per product, but is usually between 0 and 8 degrees Celsius.
- Moisture. When fresh fruit and vegetables are stored or transported in an environment that is too humid, mould will form. Keep your products dry during transport by using moisture-absorbing packaging materials.
- Too much light. Potatoes are an example of a typical product that is sensitive to too much light. Light stimulates the formation of solaline, which is a natural toxin. This creates green spots on the potatoes. You should therefore store and transport potatoes in a dry place.
Refrigerated transport equipment for fruit and vegetables
Potatoes, fruit and vegetables are therefore sensitive to external conditions. To ensure that your harvest arrives fresh at its destination, whether in the Netherlands or abroad, you can take various measures.
First of all, it is advisable to ship your products chilled. For this you can use cooling elements and insulating packaging. As packaging for distant transport usually remains at the destination, it is best to use single-use refrigerants for this purpose. Think of gel packs. Within the vegetables and fruit sector, No sweat gel packs are popular because, in addition to a cooling function, they also have an absorbent function. In this way, moisture created during transport is immediately absorbed and your products remain dry.
You can also opt for specially developed absorption mats. These will keep your products dry during transport, so that moulds and diseases don’t get a chance. This keeps the risk of crop failure low.
With soft fruit and vulnerable vegetables, pallet covers are often used in addition to cooling elements. By protecting a pallet of small packages of fresh produce against extreme external conditions (such as high temperatures at a foreign airport), your products are not exposed to high temperatures or temperature fluctuations. The pallet covers not only maintain a constant temperature but also reflect light from outside.
Transporting soft fruit by plane from the Netherlands to Shanghai
One of our customers uses gel pack strings and pallet covers to fly pallets full of soft fruit to Shanghai. By folding the gel pack strands around the full pallet and covering it with an insulating pallet cover, you create a kind of mobile refrigerator. The cold stays inside, the heat stays outside: the pallet covers have a high-quality aluminum coating that reflects heat from the outside. The test results show that, regardless of the extreme external conditions, the temperature inside the pallet cover remains within a temperature range of 2-3 degrees Celsius during the entire 36-hour transport.
More information about the refrigerated transport of fruit, vegetables and potatoes
The transport of fresh products is a challenge in itself. If you have questions or are looking for a solution for a specific transportation challenge, feel free to contact us. Our experts will gladly help you. No challenge is too hard for us.