The next chapter in the modal shift story?

Photo: Jina Lee/Wikimedia
Photo: Jina Lee/Wikimedia

A new innovation in perishables storage has been billed as something that could help end world hunger. How much of an impact it will have on hunger remains to be seen, but it may also have a significant impact on the air freight industry.

According to a report in The Times of Israel, a company called Pimi Agro has developed a spray based on hydrogen peroxide – “with a few key additions” – that can extend the shelf life of vegetables and fruits by as much as 1,500%.

The report in The Times focuses on the potential for the process to preserve food for extended periods, thereby ensuring that it does not spoil before it gets to the tables of people in developing countries, but there are obvious implications for the air freight industry, as well. If the post-harvest lifespan of perishable fruits and vegetables can be extended significantly, the need to transport them by air will be reduced or eliminated.

At this point, the development is far enough along that Wal-Mart and SunPacific (America’s largest retailer and largest shipper of citrus fruits, respectively) have reportedly begun large-scale field trials. It will undoubtedly be a year or two before its impact, if any, is felt in the form of further modal shift of perishables from air to ocean, but it is worth thinking about now.


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