Transportation packaging is a critical
component of food distribution. A study
was completed in Sri Lanka that demonstrated that fresh produce packaged in
the traditional burlap (jute) bags experienced between 22 and 28 percent loss en
route to the Colombo “green” market.
This resulted from bottom bags being
crushed, exacerbated by potholes and
other road hazards. Crates restricted the
force of stacked produce and reduced
the loss to 5 percent. Programs that increase the amount of already produced
food that reaches consumers can be cost-effective and implemented more rapidly
than waiting for the next harvest.
Food losses occur through many
mechanisms and some cannot be par-
tially or fully controlled. Losses will still
occur when products (e.g., bananas) can-
not be sold after over-ripening, product
is bruised and not salable, product is ac-
ceptable but not salable due to over-
abundance (right after harvest) or even
due to food regulations based on visual,
size or shape attributes (discussed below)
that are unrelated to
health. Such food
items cannot be
brought to market in
their existing state.
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