Let’s be real here: most of the food you eat is better travelled than you are. It’s come from Asia, Africa, America, Australia and anywhere in between. Places that are still on your bucket list.
The average fruit or vegetable on an American’s plate travels roughly 1,500 miles to get there. Its journey has taken days, through all kinds of circumstances. Packed on a boat, truck or plane. Shaken and stirred.
Meanwhile, you don’t see yourself keeping the fruit in your fridge appealing to eat for much longer than three more days. How did they get it to your house safe and sound then? While still tasting great?
In this article, we’ll discover what it means to eat food that comes from afar, how we help keep it tasty and nutritional, and what consequences this has for sustainability.
Eating Spanish strawberries in winter
MAP enables food products to stay good without chemicals or stabilisers. This is good news for not only food producers, but also for consumers. Chemicals do have an impact on products, for instance on their nutritional value.
The nutritional quality and taste of organic are much higher compared to conventional strawberries. Organic products not only have a longer shelf life but even far greater nutritional value than their non-organic counterparts.
But how do you get these products overseas without the use of chemicals?
In comes Modified Atmosphere packaging, in combination with thorough temperature and moisture control. This makes it possible for minimally processed packaged food products to maintain their visual, textural and nutritional appeal.
Growing food locally versus sustainable shipping solutions
Of course, there’s a debate on whether we should be eating certain seasonal products at all. Food grown close to home would be easier to ship and maintain its quality without the use of chemicals.
It’s hard to grow rice in the Netherlands, or tomatoes in the UK. It’s not impossible, however. Glass houses and other technologies bring the necessary climate even to the rainiest countries.
But research has shown that it is less environmentally friendly to grow tomatoes in Britain under glass than it is to import tomatoes from Spain. Simply because the energy needed to heat these glasshouses is significantly higher than what is needed for transport.
That doesn’t mean the fight for sustainability stops at that discussion. It is paramount that the transport that can’t be avoided is made as green as possible, from the trucks used to the packaging solutions on board. Modified Atmosphere fits in that future perfectly.