Fruit Waxing; A Fundamental Packaging Operation

Marketing fresh and attractive fruits that are free of rot and surface injuries is a primary concern for fruit traders. One critical aspect of post-harvest fruit handling is the packaging operation. This involves actions performed following the harvest to have the fruits ready for long-term storage or market transportation. Normally, packaging operation entails cleaning, grading and polishing of fruits. Fruit polishing, or waxing, is a critical component of the packaging operation of fruits.

What is fruit waxing or polishing?

This entails the application of skin or surface coatings to vegetables and fruits. In commercial packing operations, fruits are first washed using clean water and detergent to produce clean and beautiful fruits. Additionally, washing also serves to get rid of spores likely present on the surface of the fruit to reduce occurrence of sickness. Conversely, while washing, the natural wax covering on fruits is eliminated. This limits the shelf life of fruits. Quick moisture loss through the fruit surface by means of transpiration is increased following the washing operations. Further to that, washed fruit becomes softer a lot quicker and develop a dull appearance.

In spite of the application of mechanical refrigeration and other sophisticated methods to prolong storage life and reduce post-harvest damages in perishable fruits, these methods are expensive and require huge work force, which is inadequate in many countries. In contrast, fruit waxing is a simple and fairly cheap treatment that offers an improved prospect of minimising post-harvest damages in fruits. Consequently, fruit waxing is associated with these two main benefits to the fruit industry.

Reduced respiration rate

When a surface coating is applied on a fruit, a modified atmosphere is produced. Under the modified environment, the rate of metabolism is reduced as the level of oxygen on the modified atmosphere surrounding the fruit is minimised. Thus, respiration is slowed down, as there is reduced substrate for inhalation. Moreover, fruit softening is also decreased. Further to that, the moisture retention capacity of waxed fruits is boosted due to the covering created by the film or wax.

Improved shine

Fruit polishing enhances the aesthetic attraction of fruits by affording them a beautiful, glossy finish. In contrast, fruits that lack waxing tend to develop a dreary looking appearance in the shortest time possible. The added shine to the fruit makes the fruit more attractive to consumers. Because consumers shop with their eyes, consumers will consider a fruit that displays an improved aesthetic quality of better quality compared to others.

For more information, contact a business such as B.J.J. Industrial Brushes Pty Ltd.