Cooling Solutions for Fruit Storage

In a fast-paced retail environment, it is imperative that fruit is stored correctly before reaching retail, in order to present to the customer in top condition and entice the buyer decision process, resulting in less waste. We look at the benefits of storing fruit in temperature-controlled rooms before being dispatched to retail outlets.

Fruits continue to develop (ripen) when detached from the stem. The ripening process may not be fulfilled if the storage conditions are not handled correctly. Excess heat or cold may affect essential enzymes required for the ripening process. The purpose of temperature-controlled units is to slow down the growth of bacteria within fresh fruit. Without cold storage, most fruits will only stay fresh for a few days. All fresh produce has a ‘critical temperature’ for storage, which when gone below irreversible reactions take place known as ‘chill damage’.

The key factors that affect the storage life and quality of the fruit are:

  • Time from harvest
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Atmosphere composition
  • The effect of ethylene gas produced by some fruit as a result of ripening
  • Pre and post-harvest treatment

The Engineering Tool Box discusses the most common types of fruit and the recommended storage temperature:

Produce Type Optimum Temperature °C Optimum Humidity % Storage Life
Apples 1-4 90-95 Up to 12 months
Bananas 13-16 80-95 Up to 3 weeks
Raspberries 0 90-95 Up to 3 days
Grapes 0 85 Up to 8 weeks
Peaches 0 90-95 Up to 5 weeks
Pears -1-0 90-95 Up to 7 months
Apricots -1-0 90-95 1-3 weeks
Avocados 3-7 85-95  
Blackberries 0 90-95 Up to 3 days
Strawberries 0 90-95 Up to 7 days
Peppers 7-10 90-95 2-3 weeks

The table shows the variation in temperatures that different fruits need to be stored in, and the humidity within storage is also a key factor. The fruit must be stored within these conditions to get the most prolonged storage life.

All cold storage units will provide a temperature range between -40 to + 10 °C. Fruits such as bananas, need to be stored in a higher optimum temperature room known as a ‘ripening room’.  A ripening room is designed to control the atmosphere, altering the composition of atmospheric gases that are in contact with the produce. This controls the metabolic rate of the fruit, which enhances the colour, taste and quality of the produce.

CB Refrigeration Ltd specialise in all types of temperature-controlled rooms. We understand the complications with storing fresh fruit and can offer advice and a viable solution to all our customers. We provide a fully bespoke cold storage solution to tailor to your produce. If you would like to discuss your project with us, then contact us on 02920 861627 or sales@cbrefrigerationltd.co.uk.