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New packaging extends the shelf-life of mini cucumbers

The mini-cucumber category continues to gain popularity as a result of increased healthy snacking trends and salad consumption. Recognizing these trends, Hazel Technologies has identified an opportunity to provide quality-conscious growers, retailers, as well as consumers, with a fresher and longer-lasting packaging option through a new extension of its Breatheway product line. “Hazel has been using its proprietary Breatheway Temperature Switch Technology® membrane in the berry category for years; in late 2023, we started applying it to the mini cucumber segment and have been seeing some amazing results,” says Teresa Scattini with Hazel.

Breatheway Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) products are specifically engineered to regulate produce respiration rates and provide beneficial atmosphere levels to protect their contents and maintain quality. The Breatheway Temperature Switch Technology® membrane also protects from damaging CO2 spikes that can occur during transit — especially due to cold chain break. “Our applications mitigate the risks associated with shipping mini cucumbers and maximize their shelf-life quality well beyond retail to consumers,” Scattini commented. Breatheway’s cucumber-specific products include an industrial case liner for bulk shipping/transport as well as a retail consumer-friendly pouch bag embedded with a Breatheway membrane. Mini cucumbers are a high-value item, but at the same time, they currently have a high respiration rate, a relatively short shelf-life, and are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. “All these qualities make them a perfect fit for a product like Breatheway,” Scattini added.


From a shopper’s perspective, the Breatheway resealable pouch offers several days of extended freshness and shelf life compared to traditional macro-perforated bags or plastic-wrapped mini cucumber trays. “It prevents shoppers from ending up with slimy, shriveled, or moldy cucumbers in their fridge shortly after having brought them home.” From a grower-packer standpoint, using Breatheway-powered pouch bags shows a real commitment to delivering a top-quality product to their retail partners, who benefit from less shrink and more satisfied customers. “The percentage of marketable fruit with extended shelf life significantly increases with Breatheway,” Scattini said.

Details on technology

The Hazel Breatheway membranes for mini cucumbers are engineered to match the cucumber’s respiration rate, regulating O2 and CO2 levels within a specific, optimal range of gas concentration. This helps the fruit maintain a consistent, natural respiration rate and remain nourished even through unexpected transit events. When either O2 or CO2 levels surpass the optimal internal gas concentration, Breatheway actively “exhales” excess CO2 and inhales the amount of O2 required to keep the produce fresh. “This all prevents spoilage during transport and while on retail shelves.”

Global interest

Breatheway’s line of products are engineered for specific crops and calibrated to meet their unique sensitivities. In the case of mini cucumbers, the pouch bags with BreatheWay membranes combined with specialized film and new antifog technology regulate the internal atmosphere within the resealable bag to ensure that optimal O2 and CO2 gas ratios are managed as the produce ages as well as limit heavy condensation within the packaging. Hazel’s Breatheway pouch bags for cucumbers are currently on the market and in use in North America. The company has also received substantial interest from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In addition to cucumbers and berries, the technology is also being applied in smaller runs for other produce items, including cherries, pomegranates, melons, and mangos.