Modified atmosphere bulk packaging is shaking up the long-haul transport of fresh broccoli and other vegetables traditionally shipped on ice, the packaging maker says.

StePac L.A. Ltd. says the technology effectively eliminates the need for ice and nonrecyclable wax cartons often used in the U.S. Its Xtend Iceless bulk packaging substantially reduces carbon emissions and food waste, while providing up to 40% savings in packaging costs.

Ice melt is messy and encourages pathogen growth, StePac says. And supermarkets are seeking alternatives to the nonrecyclable wax cartons.

“Xtend Iceless MA/MH packaging is fully recyclable and offers an affordable solution suitable for land or sea freight,” says Gary Ward, business development manager for StePac. “The packaging is ‘climate positive,’ generating a net savings in carbon emissions as a result of significantly extending the shelf life of fresh produce and reducing supply chain waste.”

Broccoli can be packed in the MA packaging in the field and cooled with forced air and/or vacuum cooled in the sealed packaging. The process, patented in Mexico and the U.S., integrates the packaging into the existing packing process.