Keep pungency and colour of red chili peppers alive throughout the supply chain!

The red chili pepper industry is a global phenomenon with its own preservation challenges. In this article, we explore the two main quality indicators as well as a potential solution to preserve the unique properties of red chili peppers.

Red chili peppers

Archaeologists have found that the use of red chili peppers dates back to as long ago as 7000 BC. Since then, these fruits have been used in a wide variety of dishes around the world. And for good reason! What would an Italian spaghetti all’arrabbiata or Mexican enchilada be without that spicy and flavourful kick that typically comes with the use of red chili peppers?

Pungency and colour

The ‘hotness’ or pungency of these peppers depends on capsaicin levels, the compound responsible for the burning sensation in the mouth, ranging from mild to extremely hot. This ‘hotness’ is expressed in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) ranging from 0 SHU for no heat to 16,000,000 SHU for pure capsaicin. However, over time, capsaicin levels are likely to decrease, compromising the pungency and, consequently, the quality.

While the level of pungency is an important quality indicator, another – no less important – one is colour. The pigments responsible for conferring the fiery red colour characteristic to chili peppers are carotenoids. The higher the amount of carotenoids, the deeper the colour and the higher the commercial grading. That makes it crucial to minimise post-harvest colour reduction.

Preserving capsaicin levels and maintaining colour, however, can be a challenge, especially during shipment and storage. And with red chili peppers worldwide being so popular, this is a global matter!

Of moisture, light, and air…

The chili plant, originally native to the tropical regions of America and Africa, is grown in many countries. The grown peppers are processed, cleaned, graded and packaged for overseas dispatch, often in bags in a dried variant. Upon arrival in consumer countries, spice mills further process them, ensuring they meet quality standards before being traded.

Research has shown that several influencing factors determine quality preservation during shipment and storage. These include exposure to moisture, light, or air. Moisture can cause mould growth, while exposure to light may lead to the breakdown of pigments – in the case of colour preservation. Additionally, exposure to air can cause oxidative reactions, when not controlled.

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)

And that is where a potential solution lies: control of the atmospheric conditions by applying modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). It is a method that has been used in the food industry for over 90 years to modify the internal atmosphere in packaging by reducing oxygen and replacing it with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. In combination with bulk bags featuring a multi-layer liner with high-barrier properties, the oxidation process is slowed down, successfully preserving the main grading qualities of the red chili peppers.

The VacQPack solution

Over the years, the VacQPack Group has introduced this revolutionary method all over the globe and gained a wealth of experience in bulk-sized packaging solutions and quality preservation across various commodities, including red chili peppers.

Savour the flavour!

We would be delighted to help determine how and where in the supply chain you could benefit from the VacQPack solution, ensuring the maximum amount of your pungent and deeply red-coloured peppers reaches that spicy and flavourful dish to be savoured worldwide!

Contact

We would be happy to connect you with our specialist for more in-depth scientific information.
Please contact us at info@vacpack.com | +31 183 700137

Modified atmosphere part of the solution to food loss and waste #IDAFLW

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 13 percent of the world’s food is lost in the supply chain from post-harvest prior to retail. In times of rising hunger levels and increasing pressure on earth’s resources, that is a fact that is hard to digest.

Is there a way around? A way to make sure that carefully produced food commodities actually do make it to retail after harvest? It is International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, so today, but actually every day, we reflect on the question how food loss and waste can be reduced.

Of infestation, mould and oxidation…

Passionate farmers devote a great deal of care, time and attention to creating a high-quality product, peanuts for instance. However, once the carefully grown crop has been harvested, packed and sent off for shipment from the country of origin, whatever happens during transit is completely out of the shipper’s control. During transport and long-term storage, the commodity faces a big risk of quality decrease or even loss due to insect infestation, mould growth and oxidation. Conventional packaging methods using kraft paper, cardboard sheets, jute bags and desiccants do not contribute enough to solving the problem.

An organic solution

So, to answer the question: yes, there is a way around! A way around food loss and waste in the form of a solution that contributes to making sure that these peanuts, whether raw or processed, whether freshly harvested or in storage, do make it to retail. An organic one even.

The VacQPack solution

We call it the VacQPack solution. It’s a versatile bulk MAP packaging solution. A combination of bulk bags and specially developed equipment. The bulk bags contain a multi-layer liner and provide an excellent oxygen and moisture barrier. The equipment allows for modified atmosphere packaging, a great way to extend shelf-life and preserve quality in a natural and non-toxic way.

Modified atmosphere

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is not new. It has been applied in the food industry for over 90 years. The technology is used to literally modify the internal atmosphere in packaging by reducing oxygen, and replacing it with carbon dioxide or nitrogen. This slows down the oxidation process and eliminates insects in all life stages. It can be used for both preventive and curative purposes.

Worldwide experience

Over the years, the VacQPack Group have introduced their revolutionary method all over the globe and gained a wealth of experience in packaging and quality preservation. Of many commodities. Tree nuts, rice, beans, powders, grains and yes, peanuts. Allowing producers and processors to reduce food loss and waste, making sure that this carefully produced peanut actually does make it to retail.

People and planet

And that’s how we play our role in the supply chain, however small, by making the VacQPack solution available to you. So that, together, we can work towards the reduction of food loss and waste. And make a difference for the people, for the planet. How may we be of service to you?

Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. We look forward to hearing from you!

VacQPack
Tol 14 | 4251 PX | Werkendam | The Netherlands

Eric van Genderen: +31 6 823 925 88 | e.vangenderen@vacqpack.com
Marcel Mulder: +31 6 109 922 93 | m.mulder@vacqpack.com
Dennis van der Leeden: +31 6 829 771 11 | d.vanderleeden@vacqpack.com