Smart-Release could be your smart packaging solution

Smart-Release microwaveable packaging for fruit and vegetables

A few years ago Sirane developed a packaging solution called Smart-Release, which is ideal for packaging, shipping and selling ready-to-cook meals. 

The product was initially developed for fish - for various reasons, mainly to do with shelf-life and potential degradation, retailers might not want to put their fish and sauce in a pack and ship it into store.... they want to keep the two separate. Smart-Release is Sirane's answer to this conundrum.

But Smart-Release could be used for many other things, including fruit and vegetables. Anything that would benefit from the ingredients being compartmented is fair game. 

Smart-Release is a microwaveable cooking bag with two or more compartments. The two elements, for example cauliflower and cheese sauce, are kept separate throughout the shipping and retail process, and when the customer cooks the food we get the clever bit. Special seals open midway through the cooking process, with the  timing of the opening of the seal optimised for the perfect end result, allowing the contents of the two or more compartments to infuse together.

A microwaveable cauliflower cheese portion that's actually tasty.... there's a thought. Rhubarb and custard in minutes in a microwave.... now we're talking.

The results are outstanding. Food cooked to perfection (microwave steam cooking vegetables is a fantastic way to cook them as not only is it tasty but it means the timings are exact and they are not overdone) with the sauce added at the last minute at exactly the right time.

If you think Smart-Release could be the smart idea you've been looking for, why not get in touch.


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Solving the packaging problems with strawberries...

absorbent pads for strawberries

Think of massive worldwide industries, with vast quantities of a particular product being shipped all over the world, and you might net necessarily be picturing the humble strawberry. But you should.... the US is the world's biggest strawberry producer, with around 29% of the world's total. In the US alone, $2.2 billion was the value put on fresh strawberries in 2012, with a further $200 million put on processed strawberries. And that is a lot of strawberries....

The next highest percentages are Spain (11%), Turkey (7%), Egypt (5%) and Mexico (5%). The mathematicians among you will have already realised that leaves the best part of 50% still unaccounted for... with countries such as the UK and Poland among those making up the numbers.

It's also worth noting that strawberries often travel many thousands of miles to reach the supermarket shelf. Like many berries, different parts of the world have different growing seasons, which means that you and I can nip down to the supermarket and buy a punnet of fresh strawberries whatever the time of year.

So it goes without saying that shelf-life is a vital part of the international strawberry trade. The strawberry that is picked in the fields of northern Mexico needs to be still as fresh as the moment it was picked - at least in the eye of the consumer - when it is bought in a supermarket in the UK, or wherever it has ended up. The right packaging solutions help this happen.

Sirane's absorbent cushioned pads for soft-fruit, for example, are one such packaging solution that is perfect for strawberries, giving the fruit every possible chance of arriving in the best possible condition. It is cushioned - so protects the fruit, for the strawberry it is almost like it is floating. Any excess liquid is absorbed, so the fruit is not sitting in its own juices. They are cost-effective, and they significantly reduce the amount of fruit which is thrown away. We can even supply them with anti-fungal properties integrated.

So if you're involved in the strawberry trade, why not take a look at some of our innovative packaging solutions. 


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Simple ways to add value to sales of fresh vegetables

Asparagus in a cooking bag

There are some simple ways to add value to fresh vegetables.... and one of them is by using steam-cooking bags for the oven/microwave.

Take asparagus, for example, beautiful when cooked properly, less so when over-cooked... and a steam-cooking bag could be the answer. Asparagus takes around three minutes in a microwave in one of our steam-cooking bags... so sell the asparagus in the bag, and your customers cannot get it wrong.

But then you can up the ante by adding some extra value in the shape of a flavoured butter, for example. The picture above shows asparagus with a chilli butter. Stunning. And you'll be able to increase the price of the asparagus packaged in this way by more than the cost of the butter... so why not get creative?



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The Holy Grail that is shelf-life extension

Packaging films for fruit and vegetables shelf-life extension

Shelf-life extension.... it's a bit like the Holy Grail. Everyone wants it, few can find it. But at Sirane, shelf-life extension is one of our areas of expertise, and we're constantly working on fruit and fresh produce packaging solutions that do make a difference to the shelf-life of the produce in question.

We have a range of breathable films that can add many days, and in some cases weeks, to the shelf-life of many fruits and vegetables. The films are 100% compostable and a natural biopolymer which slows down the respiration rate of the packaged fruit or veg - effectively putting it to sleep, and increasing the shelf-life. 

We try to avoid making outlandish claims.... results with these products vary, depending on the conditions within individual supply chains. We don't want to say you'll get 'X' amount of extra days, because depending on your supply chain you might get less. But you might get more..... 

We're always keen to allow you to trial our fruit packaging solutions within your own supply chain, as that's how you'll discover whether it works for you. 

Of course, there are other factors which can effect shelf-life. That's why we have a range of absorbent fruit pads, including cushioned pads for soft-fruit. Using the right fruit pad can also make a huge difference to the shelf-life, and even an extra day can make a big difference to the bottom line.

No-one wants to throw fruit or vegetables away, especially so much effort has been put into growing it, transporting it and marketing it. We trying to make sure you don't have to....


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Busy few months following Fruit Logistica

Sirane at Fruit Logistica 2015

It's been a busy few months since Sirane was at Fruit Logistica (see picture, above) where we shared our latest fresh produce packaging developments with the world. Fruit Logistica in Berlin always seems very busy, and always leaving us with a vast amount of follow-up work to do. 

Our Dri-Fresh Soft-Hold pad was one of the main focuses at the show, and we're continuing to get a lot of interest from around the world. The pad, which has been developed at Sirane's UK base in Shropshire, is aimed at protecting soft-fruit during transportation. The pad offers cushioning as well as absorbency, meaning more fruit arrives at its ultimate destination in a saleable condition, and it gets more shelf-life. As soft-fruit often travels huge distances, this is key.

We're finding there's a real thirst for innovation in the fresh produce sector... problems that have existed for years in the supply chain can be solved. 


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