3 Technologies that Extend the Shelf Life of Vegetables and Fruits

The perishability of fruits and vegetables is one of the greatest issues faced by the produce industry. As a produce business, having your produce expire prematurely can result in profit loss and damaged trade relationships. 

So what can you do to combat the brief shelf life of vegetables and fruits, and ensure that your produce stays fresh until it reaches the consumer?

In this article, we go over some revolutionary technologies that help with extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, and how Silo can help you monitor inventory to get the most out of your produce.

What is the shelf life of vegetables and fruits?

To maximize shelf life, produce must be stored at very specific temperatures. According to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the shelf life of various vegetables and fruits at their ideal storage temperatures are the following.


Produce Shelf life (at storage temperature, Fahrenheit)

Apples

1 to 12 months (at 30 to 40 degrees)

Asparagus

2 to 3 weeks (at 32 to 35 degrees)

Beans

Lima - 5 to 7 days (at 37 to 41 degrees)

Snap - 7 to 10 days (at 40 to 45 degrees)

Beets

4 to 6 months (at 32 degrees)

Bell peppers

2 to 3 weeks (at 45 to 55 degrees)

Blackberries

2 to 3 days (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Blueberries

1 to 2 weeks (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Broccoli

10 to 14 days (at 32 degrees)

Brussel sprouts

3 to 5 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Cabbage

3 to 6 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Cantaloupe

5 to 14 days (at 32 to 36 degrees)

Carrots

Mature - 7 to 9 months (at 32 degrees)

Cauliflower

3 to 4 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Celery

2 to 3 months (at 32 degrees)

Cherries

2 to 3 weeks (at 30 to 31 degrees)

Collards

10 to 14 days (at 32 degrees)

Corn

5 to 8 days (at 32 degrees)

Cucumbers

10 to 14 days (at 50 to 55 degrees)

Eggplant

1 week (at 46 to 54 degrees)

Grapes

2 to 8 weeks (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Kale

2 to 3 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Lettuce

2 to 3 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Mustard

10 to 14 days (at 32 degrees)

Okra

7 to 10 days (at 45 to 50 degrees)

Onions

Green - 3 to 4 weeks (at 32 degrees)

White - 1 to 8 months (at 32 degrees)

Parsnips

4 to 6 months (at 32 degrees)

Peaches

2 to 4 weeks (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Pears

2 to 7 months (at 29 to 31 degrees)

Peas

English - 1 to 2 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Southern - 6 to 8 days (at 40 to 41 degrees)

Plums

2 to 5 weeks (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Potatoes

Irish - 4 to 5 months (at 40 degrees)

Sweet - 4 to 7 months (at 55 to 60 degrees)

Pumpkins

2 to 3 months (at 50 to 55 degrees)

Radish

3 to 4 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Raspberries

2 to 3 days (at 31 to 32 degrees)

Rhubarb

2 to 4 weeks (at 32 degrees)

Rutabaga

4 to 6 months (at 32 degrees)

Spinach

10 to 14 days (at 32 degrees)

Squash

Summer - 1 to 2 weeks (at 41 to 50 degrees)

Winter - 2 to 6 months (at 50 to 55 degrees)

Strawberries

5 to 7 days (at 32 degrees)

Tomatoes

Ripe - 4 to 7 days (at 46 to 50 degrees)

Cherry - 4 to 7 days (at 47 to 50 degrees)

Turnips

4 to 5 months (at 32 degrees)

Watermelons

2 to 3 weeks (at 50 to 60 degrees)

Store produce separately

Due to the different temperature requirements of each product and to maximize the shelf life of vegetables and fruits, it’s recommended to avoid storing the produce together in one space. There are also, however, additional reasons to avoid doing this.

Humidity

Produce not only requires specific temperature levels, but different humidity conditions as well. While most fruits and vegetables require a humidity level of 90 to 95% for an ideal shelf life, root crops (such as garlic and onions) decay faster at higher humidity levels, and thus must be stored in environments with a humidity level of 65 to 75%.

Ethylene

Some produce (such as apples, bananas, avocados, and so on) produce high levels of ethylene, also known as the ‘ripening hormone’. When mixed with other fruits and vegetables, it can cause the produce to become bitter, discolor, and soften, reducing lifespan and lowering quality.

3 technologies that extend the shelf life of vegetables and fruits

With so many different requirements for storing produce, how do you reduce the risk of your fruits and vegetables going bad? Here are 3 technologies on the market that help with extending the shelf life of produce.

1. Apeel Technologies

Apeel Technologies is a California-based company that launched in 2018 with the objective of reducing food waste and creating abundance. Their produce-protecting blend is patented and designed for both organic and conventional produce.

The technology is essentially an edible film coating that keeps oxygen out and seals moisture in to extend produce shelf life. It’s plant-based and makes use of the natural materials found in the pulp, seeds, and peels of fruits and vegetables.

The amphiphilic surface, which acts as a protective barrier, is said to be odorless and tasteless. The company claims that fruits and vegetables coated in their product stays fresher for twice as long.

2. SAVRpak’s Drop-In

SAVRpak, with a stated goal to stop food waste, markets its product for all kinds of food, from produce to fast food. Intended for growers, shippers, packers, retailers, and consumers, their food-safe, chemical-free, and FDA-compliant solution is intended to save the life of your produce. According to their website, it’s single-use, biodegradable, and easy to use.

The company’s Drop-In product is a small packet meant to be adhered onto packaging. The peel-and-stick patch is placed inside paper bags, clamshells, and takeout containers before transportation. For the packet to work, it must be frozen before use.

Drop-In extends vegetable and fruit shelf life by making use of thermodynamics, pulling condensation from the air to prevent food spoilage. The company claims that their product keeps perishables fresh for 4 to 14 additional days, depending on the produce. 

They also list other features that are currently in development on their website, including a food safety feature that they hope will detect pathogens like E. coli, salmonella, and listeria, and a feature for atmospheric control, which will prevent or slow mold growth on produce.

3. Food Freshly’s Freshness Retainers

Established in 1994, this German company’s products have been made widely available in North America. Food Freshly emphasizes that their product is approved worldwide and manufactured in Germany and the USA for extending the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. It contains no preservatives, allergens, or GMOs.

Their Freshness Retainers are intended for cut produce, and are a dry-blend powder of naturally-derived minerals and vitamins. After the powder is dissolved in water, the cut produce should be dipped into the solution for 30 seconds to 2 mins, then dried through gentle shaking, spinning, or air-blowing before being packaged.

The company claims that their product extends the shelf life of produce to over 21 days, with 1kg of powder treating up to 200kg of fruits and vegetables. It’s recommended by the company to dilute the powder in water at a 5 to 6% concentration, but to get exact and accurate measurements, they encourage customers to contact them to best match their business’ individual requirements.

Keep track of your inventory with Silo

To ensure that your produce stays fresh for as long as possible, you’ll need an inventory management solution that helps you strategically buy and sell the right product at the right time. 

Silo lets you take a proactive approach to tracking inventory. Benefit from the efficiency and real-time clarity Silo provides, with organized inventory that’s ready to ship out at a moment’s notice. 

Book a demo with Silo today!

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