Technological watch

Evaluation of the Effects of Different Packaging Materials on the Quality Attributes of the Tomato Fruit

Post-harvest loss continues to be a significant problem in the food industry. Different packaging materials, designed to reduce fruit damage, are anticipated for various applications in the supply chain. Recently, stamped paper (SP) and expandable polystyrene (EPS) trays have been introduced as tomato retail packaging. Although the combination of paper trays and clear plastic are still not 100% biodegradable packaging, they are promising alternatives to the heavy utilisation of petrochemical-based polymers. This study investigated the effects of different packaging materials and storage conditions on the ‘Nema-Netta’ tomatoes’ quality attributes. The treatments consisted of a stamped paper (SP) + polyvinyl chloride (PVC), expandable polystyrene (EPS) + polyvinyl chloride (PVC), stamped paper (SP)+ flow wrap, expandable polystyrene (EPS) + flow wrap, polypropylene (PP), and unpackaged tomatoes stored at cold and ambient conditions. Firmness, physiological weight loss (PWL), pH value, titratable acidity (TA) and total sugars were evaluated at seven-day intervals, over 28 days. Temperature and relative humidity at cold storage ranged between 8–12 °C, 78–80% RH and 22–26 °C, 68–72% RH at ambient storage conditions. The packaging and storage conditions significantly affected the PWL, firmness, pH, TA and total sugars. Samples in the EPS Tray combined with the PVC wrap at cold storage maintained the quality of the tomatoes better than the other packaging. The combination of packaging and cold storage created an ideal environment for maintaining the quality of tomatoes. The relative differences between EPS Tray + PVC (non-biodegradable) and SP Tray + PVC (biodegradable) were less than 5% in multiple tests.

Publication date: 06/02/2023

Author: Sandile Sifiso Dladla

Reference: doi: 10.3390/app13042100

MDPI (applsci)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.