How harvested perishable consumer goods are handled, stored and packed is a key component of our food chain.

Every year, 1.3 billion metric tons of food is produced for human consumption in the world. One third of the total never reaches the consumer’s plate.  In developing countries, postharvest losses can be particularly acute (>50%) In developed countries with “cool chain” losses can range from 4-8%. However, cooling is not the complete answer to postharvest product loss. Postharvest solutions need to be “non-chemical” and cost effective to meet demands for safe, nutritious, relatively cheap food all year round.

Postharvest management of produce falls into two categories:

  1. Pest and disease management
  2. Ripening control

The ability to suspend ripening is key to being able to smooth out the peaks and troughs of grower supply to meet consumer demand.

Contact details

CleanG ADAS Horticulture Postharvest Facility

Our CleanG site in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire is a commercial pack house facility that can be used for direct industry scale trials or R&D investigations to explore advances in postharvest management of all types of fresh produce.

The CleanG site hosts:

  • A commercial shelf life room
  • A 46 pallet CA (O2, CO2 and N2 control) room with refrigeration (down to 4°C)
  • Cool chain storage facility >100 pallets
  • Air purification (ethylene scrubbing)
  • Temperature fluctuation and air purification test units
  • Large meeting room >30 attendees for KE
  • Secure storage and testing facility
  • Separate offices and online conference facility

Ripening suspension

Whilst ripening suspension works effectively in commercial supply chains by extending shelf life for >7 days compared with cool chain alone, the technology can also extend shelf life under higher temperatures. It has been used for other climacteric produce such as cut flowers produced in Kenya. The technology allows rolling of produce and can be used to level peaks and troughs of supply and demand.

Low energy and low cost supply chain ripening elasticity solutions to reduce waste are also being developed in Nigeria using Pick, Store, Buy technology (PSB).

Services we offer

  • Vase life testing
  • Shelf life extension testing using clean CA facilities for up to 46 pallets of fresh produce
  • Robotics automation testing for pack house conditions / testing with live produce
  • Sensor testing with packaging and live produce
  • Real time measurement of ethylene, CO2
  • Development of shelf life prediction algorithms
  • Carbon audits for growing operations and pack houses
  • Supply chain use case testing
  • Scientific evaluation of new technologies for use in commercial pack house environments
  • Work in the UK and in developing countries
  • Specialist supply chain consultancy for storage technologies and the control of pathogens

New project enquiries

We are open to new project work, industry workshop delivery or training to deploy our specialist postharvest skills and knowledge.