Feasibility Study on Styrofoam Layer Cushioning for Banana Bulk Transport in a Local Distribution System

  • Wasala, W.M.C.B. ;
  • Dharmasena, D.A.N. ;
  • Dissanayake, C.A.K. ;
  • Tilakarathne, B.M.K.S.
  • Received : 2015.10.22
  • Accepted : 2015.11.24
  • Published : 2015.12.01


Purpose: This study evaluates a new banana bulk packaging method under the real transport conditions of Sri Lanka. Methods: A field evaluation of optimized 8-mm thick Styrofoam sheets used as the cushioning material was applied. A trial transport was conducted from Thambuttegama to Colombo using a medium-sized open truck, with banana leaves as the control material. Data were recorded at the farmer, transporter, retailer, and consumer stages of the supply chain. Mechanical damage, physiological loss in weight, fruit firmness, total soluble solids, ripeness index, visual quality ratings, and the physical damage index of the bananas were measured at each stage. A cost-benefit analysis was also conducted for both packaging methods. Results: The 8-mm styrofoam sheets significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the mechanical damage from 26.3% to 12.9% compared to the conventional method for long-distance transport, and the physiological loss in weight showed a decrease of 2.88%. The loss of firmness of the fruits followed a simmilar pattern for both methods until reaching the retailer, but at the consumer was significantly higher (p < 0.05) for the control. However, the physical damage index at the retail stage for the control showed symptoms of physical injury, whereas the bananas transported using the cushioning materials exhibited only minor symptoms. Further, the visual quality of the fruits after transport from the farmer to the consumer was preserved, which is one of the main factors affecting consumer preference and retail price. The proposed method increases the profit margin by 51.2% for Embul bananas owing to the reduced postharvest losses. Conclusion: The 8-mm thick Styrofoam sheets reduced the physical damage to the bananas, with the quality parameters maintained at the prefered level. Moreover, profits may be increased.


Banana bunches;Mechanical damages;Postharvest losses;Proper packaging;Styrofoam


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