Produce Life and Quality
Fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet and can decrease risk of chronic disease. Despite the widespread availability of fresh fruit, many Americans eat less than the recommended five servings per day. One of the biggest deterrents to consumption is poor quality. Storage, shipping, and handling can lead to bruising, browning, rot, and deterioration of texture and flavor, making the fruit unappealing to consumers and causing major losses for the industry. Researchers at land-grant universities are working with government partners in the United States and Canada to address these concerns and find effective ways to protect fresh fruit shelf life and quality.
Researchers tested new tools and methods for protecting fruit quality during storage. Findings have helped the industry decide whether to invest in certain technologies. In particular, non-chemical ways to protect fruit quality have provided options for organic growers and export markets with chemical use restrictions and for small-scale farmers who may not be able to afford chemical treatments. Improving storage durability and extending shelf life in these ways enables growers to sell high-quality fruit when and where prices are best. The ability to transport fresh fruit long distances without damaging quality also allows more consumers access to a wider variety of fruits.
Learn more at the Multistate Research Funds Impacts webpage.
Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.