Q.Give your views on the in-store retailing of fruit and vegetables taking into account the high perishability and competitive pricing for F & V, in organised sector retail stores/formats such as Reliance Fresh (Reliance Retail), Food World (Dairy Farm)and More in Indian metro cities? Storage of fruit and vegetables
The storage of fruits and vegetables in a store is to extend the life. Storage helps in reducing biochemical change in fresh F&V. Cold storage slows down the growth of contaminating micro organisms. After harvest season they can achieve higher sale. Controlled atmosphere in cold store:
To extend the life of crop cold, stores reduces the level of oxygen in the atmosphere. It slows down spoiling of F & V and also destroys insects. More over different type of crops require different atmospheres for good storage. They need to be independently assessed. In some fruits and vegetables off-flavor or discoloration can occurs, if oxygen concentration is too low. The store has to be fully used, so the cost of maintenance has to be optimized. The cost of setting up a controlled atmosphere store and the cost of monitoring the gas composition are both high. Completion required by different crops, and there may be competition from production areas that have the different harvest season. Cold storages causes little change to quality or nutritional value. Over long time storage, incorrect temperature and damage to crops can significant changes, including browning and weight loss due to evaporation of water from crops. Loss of vitamin C in fruit and vegetables depend on temperature management after harvest. For leafy vegetables losses are also accelerated by bruising and other injuries and by excessive trimming. Crops for cold storage:
Most crops are likely to contain contaminants, to have parts that are inedible, or to have variable shape or size. To have uniformly high quality for sale in the fresh market sector, it is necessary to clean, sort and grade the crop before cooling and cold storage. It is important to remove ‘field heat’ from crops as quickly as possible after harvest. Before crops are placed in cold storage field heat reduces their metabolic activity, reduces the growth of bacteria and other losses like water and weight. It also reduces the lode on cold store refrigeration system. A simple method is to pick the either early in morning when it is cool or late in the evening and leave it to cool overnight. Hydrocooling is used to rapidly cool produce. Vegetables and fruits are sprayed with or submerged in chilled water produced by a refrigeration unit. Ice can be used to make cold water, when they are transporting. Many fruit products are packed in to wooden crates, mesh bags or perforated metal bin that are stacked on pallets to cause water to flow through. Fruit and vegetables are not damaged during harvest time. Crops should be harvested carefully using a sharp stainless steel blade and should not be placed on the ground where they could pick up dirt. Crops should be handled carefully and as little as possible. The best option is to prepare crops in the field and place them carefully in the containers that are also used in the cold store. This reduces the amount of handling and keeps damage to a minimum. Dirty crops can introduce insects, pests and moulds into the cold store, which will then damage good quality. some fruit and vegetables should have their outer leaves removed before sale. Depending n the requirements of customers, it may also be to grade crops so that Fruit and vegetables that have similar size, maturity or color are together. Soaking is used for cleaning heavily contaminated root crops to remove soil and stones. For delicate foods such as strawberries or asparagus, or products that can trap dirt internally (e.g. celery), air can be ‘sparged’ through the water to increase cleaning efficiency. Spray washing using drum washers or belt washers is used for many types...