Humidity cooling of fruit and vegetables: What is the benefit?
Far more sustainable than high markdowns and declining demand is the associated loss of image. High temperatures and dry air result in rapid spoilage for most types of fresh produce. Fresh products wilt and look unappetising.
On the contrary, attributes such as fresh (moist and cool surface), crisp (firm and shiny) and young (whole, normal colour) are representative of fresh fruit and vegetables. To retain the latter state as long as possible, requires that after harvest, products enter a closed cold chain with MINIMUM HUMIDITY, not only during transport, but also during marketing.
Water smoke systems represent a real alternative for humidification, which can optionally be supplemented with cold air.
For air humidification, energy is removed from the air, which then cools down. Thanks to the cold smoke, it is not only cooled, but also moisturised, and the dehydration of fresh produce is prevented. Along with the humidity that is beneficial for goods, further advantages of air humidification are that there is also a slight decrease in air and product temperature, lack of precipitation on the fresh produce (it does not get wet), hygienic safety and the open display of goods …
The energy use is also comparatively limited. Tests have shown the effectivity of this method. An example: At a room temperature of 20°C and 50% relative humidity, humidification alone lowers the incoming air to 14°C and lower.
A combination of an open refrigerator with air humidification essentially fulfils the same requirements. In addition to the water mist, cold air flows over the vegetables, which results in a further cooling effect…” In short, properly used, air humidification significantly helps to reduce markdowns and at the same time increases sales.
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Credit: A.Rauch GmbH