This summer, the possibilities of next-generation, naturally-extended packaging for the meat and poultry industry went global – literally – with the shipment of fresh pork from Denmark to Australia, in a package that was not vacuum sealed.
BluWrap, based in San Francisco, California, was behind that shipment. The company provides naturally extended shelf life technology that utilizes patented oxygen management techniques and allows for “environmentally responsible” shipping via ocean freighters instead of airplanes, according to company information. Other benefits include reduced drip loss, increased yields compared to traditional vacuum packed shipments and lower material costs.
BluWrap packaging enables an extended shelf life and more natural shipping of fresh pork because of the nature of the packaging. Fuel cells are used to actively reduce and consistently monitor oxygen while the product is shipped in refrigerated containers. A consistent temperature is maintained and users are able to continually track temperature and oxygen through built-in sensors.
The recent shipment of pork from Europe’s largest pork producer, Danish Crown, from Denmark to Australia involved pork packaged in an all-natural controlled atmosphere environment, en route for a 56-day transport. The product was not frozen or packaged in vacuum packaging. Previously, the company tested land shipments of pork in Chile and the Netherlands.
“This first pork shipment opens significant new market opportunities for BluWrap,” says Mark Barnekow, BluWrap’s CEO. “Until now, our efforts have been focused on shipping seafood using ocean containers so that producers and suppliers can use a more environmentally friendly way to bring their product to market. With this successful shipment, we expect to thoughtfully extend our technology to include pork and look forward to working with other high volume proteins like chicken, beef, and lamb.”
Tom Petersen, senior manager of quality production at Danish Crown, was on hand in Denmark for the packaging and later, in Australia, when the product was opened there. “The pork shipped using the BluWrap packaging technology looked identical on the day of opening as it was the day we packed it, despite being 56 days in transit without any ice or freezing. Our Australian customer was extremely pleased with the color, texture and yields on the product throughout the entire process,” he reports.
The market for such shipments is already showing signs of growth, as consumers increasingly demonstrate interest in fresh versus frozen food, including proteins. BluWrap reports that customers in China and Japan have requested shipments of fresh pork from their foreign suppliers to various local markets. In the seafood sector, BluWrap recently partnered with a Norwegian executive to explore the use of the packaging technology in that company’s salmon industry.
Back in the US, BluWrap is listed on the US Food & Drug Administration’s “Green List,” which allows producers from around the world to use BluWrap technology to ship fresh seafood into this country.