Bananas and Food Waste: Grocers Worst Nightmare

What is the worst fruit of all time? Bananas: they’re one of the biggest causes of food waste for grocers. But what does this have to do with temperature control?

Temperature Control and Bananas

food waste

In terms of its ability to waste, Food and Wine magazine rates bananas as the worst. A February 13, 2018 article said bananas are the biggest source of grocery store waste.

Bananas are not the only produce products to rot before it gets to consumers: food is wasted at every step of the supply chain. But bananas stand out because consumers tend to only purchase bananas that they perceive are ripe, which in most cases are a spotless yellow or yellow-green.

Bananas: A Misunderstood Fruit

What consumers don’t understand is that bananas are ripe and edible while green all the way through until black. The darker the banana, the more sweet it is. The lighter the banana, the more starchy it tastes. Bananas can be eaten alone, used in baking, mixed in a smoothie, as a topping for oatmeals and ice cream, and even fried. How they are used is determined by the fruit’s starchy or sweet consistency. As a result, blackened bananas can often be seen as food waste. But even though they’re still useful, bananas that aren’t picturesque are thrown out simply because consumers won’t purchase spotted or blackened bananas. 

Rot in Transit

However, a significant amount of banana waste comes from the transportation of the fruit. Ash Ngu, an expert of banana transportation, described on Quora how the process works.

“Bananas that Americans eat are imported from countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama. They’re harvested green and unripened so that they can last the 3-4 weeks it takes to get them into grocery stores. During processing, they’re broken up into bunches, labeled with those little stickers and boxed up in order to protect them during shipping.

food waste
Source: Costa Rica Daily Photo 

“The bananas are transported across the ocean in temperature-controlled ship holds. Once they get to their destination port, a ripening manager inspects the bananas. They’re visually inspected, their temperature is taken, the peel is peeled, banana flesh color and texture is evaluated. Then they go into pressurized rooms which force air through the banana boxes for consistent ripening. The temperature of the room can be controlled to quicken or slow the ripening process. After they are ripened appropriately, the bananas are sent on their final journey in trucks to various grocery shelves across the nation and into your hands.”

Banana Gas

Some producers use chemical gases to speed up the ripening process of bananas. This chemical is called ethylene. A small hydrogen gas, ethylene is a naturally occurring byproduct of ripening fruit, including bananas. Producers will often use ethylene to encourage the ripening of bananas to time their peak “fresh appearance” with the date at which consumers will see them on store shelves.

One conclusion that can be gleaned from learning about the process it takes to get bananas from tree to store is that doing so is very expensive, and that temperature control is critical to helping bananas reach customer at the peak of perfection. There are a few items out there that can help with bringing more fruit to the customer, but refrigeration and ethylene are the main methods used by producers and grocers today. These processes have proven very effective in preventing food waste. 

Chilling Produce

North Slope Chillers, a sister company of Powerblanket, manufactures the most efficient chillers used in maintaining consistent temperatures in the grocery industry. Visit www.northslopechillers.com to learn more about how temperature control is possible through chiller equipment.

Learn More About Cooling Produce

Drum Insulation Blanket

Drum Insulation Blankets
Drum Blanket strapped onto drum with powerblanket logoFrom foods to a variety of chemicals and epoxies or resins, proper storage of your industrial materials is important. Without the right storage conditions, the quality of materials is compromised, leading to lost money on wasted products and ineffective heating methods.

HEATING METHODS

There are a few heating methods for drums and barrels, but some will end up causing you more of a headache. Drums hold a lot of product and offer a durable storage structure for liquids, chemicals, food product, and more. However, when it comes time for temperature regulation, they don’t provide any capabilities on their own. 

Traditional insulation blankets lack the ability to bring your material to working temperature, in addition to inadequately protecting against the savage cold. Take, for example, the need to bring certain types of product to temperatures above the ambient air around it. A typical insulation blanket has no way to accommodate this. 

While cartridge heaters are also an option, they can be a lot more work. Cartridge heaters heat a small area, require precise tolerances for drilled holes and need additional exterior insulation. They are used most often for molds or metal parts and inserted into drilled holes. Heating from the inside works well for some applications, but uneven heat is a common issue for cartridge heaters.

Man wrapping industrial heating blanket around blue drum/barrelHowever, Powerblanket has created a drum blanket that can protect your most sensitive products against the coldest cold. With a thermostatic controller and innovative heat-spreading technology, you can wrap your drum and forget about it.

THE POWERBLANKET DIFFERENCE

Of all the heating devices out there for the protection of drums and barrels, this drum blanket is one that’s done right. With even heat distribution and temperature regulation, Powerblanket has a solution fit for any occasion. 

Freeze Protection

Wrap anything in a Powerblanket drum heater and you’ll never use another band heater or blower again. Powerblanket heated drum blankets takes the hassle out of heating your barrels & totes with an insulated barrier of warmth from top to bottom. They offer a full-wrap, insulated design for superior control and freeze protection. This ensures that there is even heat distribution, preventing hot and cold spots that could be damaging to your material. You also have multiple sizes & temperature settings to choose from.

Improve Viscosity and Flow

Storing material in freezing weather can result in higher viscosity, while hot spots creates lower viscosity, resulting in increased flow. Improper storage and heating methods can be especially problematic for temperature-sensitive material. If it becomes too hot or cold, it be very time-consuming to achieve required viscosity again, and may completely ruin certain materials. Viscosity issues can cause a multitude of problems with productivity and money.

The ability to automate your freeze protection is a huge benefit once the cold weather rolls around, and the capability of bringing liquids and other products to higher temperatures for viscosity maintenance, chemical-property enablement, or characteristic integrity is of equal importance. Heating sensitive materials has never been easier with drum blankets, available in fixed temperature or adjustable control.

Other Highlighted Features 

– Quickly heat both metal & poly drums and totes

– Easy to power, connects in seconds

– Protects delicate materials from freezing

– Ideal for heating foods, oils, chemicals, water, and paints

– Keeps the heat in – and the cold out!

– 10X more effective than a band heater or blower

– Water resistant

– Safe for indoor use 

– UL / CSA compliant

Powerblanket drum blankets offer a range of options to best suit your needs. They are available in three sizes from 15 gallon to 55 gallon, as well as three product classes for your required level of temperature control.

Whatever industry you are in, protecting your materials is vital. Proper storage conditions that you don’t have to think twice about makes it easier for you to focus on other aspects of your business. Check out more benefits of Powerblanket’s drum heaters here. Whether you need a drum blanket for insulation, heat regulation, or a combination of the two, Powerblanket is the clear answer.

Learn More About Drum and Barrel Heaters