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Plant-based coatings are now opening up the world to exporters of organic citrus produce

Citrosol’s range of plant-based coatings is pivotal in terms of organic citrus shipments. Until now, the inexistence of quality certified organic coatings has been a significant factor in limiting exports. Citrosol’s innovation has broken down such commercial barriers with last year’s introduction of Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free to their new product line, Biocare by Citrosol.

They are the first commercially available coatings to be  certified for use on organic produce and Citrosol are delighted to have been granted the Vegan Seal of Approval or V label confirming their suitability for vegan consumption; and they are proving to work very well among operators. Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free were designed to respond to an ever growing organic sector that is facing the need to use new tools with which the export challenge can be confidently tackled.

The challenges that organic citrus marketers have had to bear with until now until now have been weight loss in the fruit, rind disorders, chilling injury and premature overripening. Before, they were unable to use wax coatings to mitigate such issues as there were no authorized coatings in bio, but now everything has changed with Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free.

Reduce food waste

“Unwaxed fruit dehydrates more quickly, suffers from greater weight loss and it is more susceptible to chilling injury” advised Jorge Bretó, CEO of Citrosol, “with our new range of plant-based coatings we have been able to reduce weight loss by 50%, compared to uncoated fruit, and we extend the commercial life of the fruit, which is extremely important as these factors greatly help to mitigate losses at our customer’s destination and, in consequence, wasted produce”.

We have simply tried to copy nature and it seems that we have been successful; Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free substantially increase the commercial life of the fruit”, explained Jorge Bretó.

Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free are composed of plant-based waxes, where the active ingredients are extracted from plants and do not undergo any type of chemical alteration ensuring that the development of the fungal pathogens that cause decay in citrus fruit is not stimulated. In this way, citrus fruit with this type of coating enjoy an extended commercial life on the supermarket shelf, their food safety is guaranteed and all their flavor and freshness remains intact.

The manufacturing process for Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free is a physical, not chemical one. We do not need to make modifications as our active ingredient is probably the best vegetable wax that nature has created to limit the loss of water from plant tissues and reduce their respiration. We have simply tried to copy nature and it seems that we have been successful; Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free substantially increase the commercial life of the fruit”, explained Jorge Bretó.

Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free features

Both coatings offer a natural shine, but in the case of Plantseal® shine-free the presence of the coating on the fruit is virtually imperceptible. For example, in lemon the blackening of the mamelon (blossom end) of some varieties that present this problem is delayed, thus slowing the aging of the fruit and the consequential losses thereof. For the consumer, that additional coating is almost imperceptible, a highly important factor where there is a growing demand for fruit with a “natural” appearance. For example, lemons are widely used in cooking, the peel in cakes and pastries or sliced lemon in cocktails etc. If the peel has a very shiny wax coating, it may not appeal to the consumer’s taste leading to many markets and consumers seeking fruit with a “natural” sheen.

The external appearance of organic citrus fruit protected by Citrosol’s new coatings is comparable with those treated with conventional waxes. Furthermore, the preventative control of in rind blemishes occasioned by chilling injury is excellent and prevention of weight loss is much superior to that of other common shellac and polyethylene waxes.

These plant-based coatings do not require higher temperature or longer drying times to protect the fruit, thus contributing to sustainability and reducing the climatic footprint (carbon footprint). Neither do they need any changes in the machinery or in the customer’s facilities, so they do not imply the need for further investment in the Packinghouse.

Plantseal® and Plantseal® shine-free have been developed as part of the Biocare by Citrosol concept of ecological solutions for the citrus sector. Recently Citrosol has developed Plantseal® Tropical the perfect coating suitable for avocados and mangoes.

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