Comparison of two strawberry postharvest handling strategies: rapidly cooled or non-cooled fruit to the distributor

D.A. Neuwald, M. Grötzinger, R. Wood, D. Kittemann, J. Wünsche
Strawberry freshness declines quickly and thus rapid marketing strategies are required. Strawberries are non-climacteric fruit and must be harvested when fully ripe and ready for immediate consumption. At this physiological stage, the fruit is particularly susceptible to spoilage during postharvest handling and shelf-life. A rapid marketing strategy cannot always be realized because of weather-related oversupply and long transport routes. Therefore, research is needed to investigate possible options to maintain fruit freshness during the marketing chain. This study evaluated two short-term postharvest marketing strategies for strawberries. In the standard strategy, fruit was transported to the packhouse and then rapidly cooled before being transported to the distributor, arriving at the market within two days of harvest. Alternatively, non-cooled fruit was transported directly from the producer to the distributor, reaching the market within one day (direct marketing). The alternative marketing strategy without rapid cooling had no negative influence on fruit firmness. In contrast, the standard marketing with rapid cooling resulted in a lower proportion of mechanical fruit injuries and fruit maintained better colour compared to direct marketing. Mechanical injuries on strawberries can be considerable during long transport routes and can be up to 40% at the end of the marketing chain. Different packaging materials (paper or plastic) had no influence on the external quality parameters of the strawberry. In summary, rapid cooling ensured the marketing of high-quality strawberries.
Neuwald, D.A., Grötzinger, M., Wood, R., Kittemann, D. and Wünsche, J. (2021). Comparison of two strawberry postharvest handling strategies: rapidly cooled or non-cooled fruit to the distributor. Acta Hortic. 1309, 835-840
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1309.119
Fragaria × ananassa, fruit quality, postharvest, commercialization

Acta Horticulturae