How MAP packaging can extend mushroom shelf life to two weeks

Israel-based packaging company StePacPPC is releasing a new type of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) specifically catered to protecting mushrooms. It aims to protect a range of mushrooms, from whole and sliced white mushrooms to more ‘exotic’ kinds, such as shiitake, oyster, lion’s mane, and portabello.

Mushrooms have a very short shelf life, usually just a few days, and the packaging works to extend it, as well as maintaining flavour, texture and nutrition, preventing weight lost, and helping mushrooms to maintain their natural appearance. Thereby, it reduces food waste. According to Roni Sofer, VP of marketing for Marina Galilee Mushrooms, Ltd., the packaging can reduce waste by up to 35%.

The company first tested out its packaging during the pandemic, helping farmers keep backlogs of oyster mushrooms for longer.

Saving mushrooms

While MAP can be used for a variety of foods, StePacPPC’s is specifically targeted towards mushrooms, as they are heavily affected by moisture loss. The packaging helps prevent this.

“Optimal modified atmosphere and removal of excess moisture are critical in preserving the quality and slowing the deterioration of fresh mushrooms. After considerable research, we have succeeded in achieving both of these, which has enabled us to maximize shelf life of the mushrooms,” Gary Ward, Ph.D., CTO for StePacPPC, told FoodNavigator.

MAP packaging is in fairly widespread use, but StePacPPC has a specific focus: keeping out the moisture and protecting the mushrooms.

“One major differentiating factor is that StePacPPC specializes in the development of advanced polymer films with a range of water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) to manage humidity in the packaging headspace.  This is critical component of modified atmosphere packaging,” Ward told us.