Canned Or Plastic Packaged Fruit - Which Is Best?
There was a time when many suburban gardens had small orchards growing behind the house. It was childhood bliss to play for hours with friends in the back yard, climbing the trees to pick the ripening fruit when hunger pangs interrupted the game. Oranges, mangoes, mandarins, apples (in cooler climates), mulberries and other fruit in season, all were fair game to a horde of hungry children. Those times have long gone, at least in the cities and larger towns, and the closest children now get to many fruits are the canned variety, or fruit in plastic packaging.
Food packaging suppliers have serviced this market by developing packaging products which offer the consumer an alternative to cans. There are pros and cons for both methods of packaging, depending on things like storage facilities, length of time elapsed from purchase to use, and the way the product will be used e.g. as a fresh snack or as part of a cooked or chilled recipe.
Canned fruit is convenient, durable, and nutritionally sound. It has a shelf life of two to four years, as the contents are sterilized during the canning process. This technology was first developed in the 1800’s, so it has been refined and perfected over an extended period of time, and is generally safe and hygienic.
Cooks favour canned fruit as an ideal ingredient in cakes, pies, pastries, desserts etc. as the quality is generally consistent and seasonal fruits are available all year round. The fruit can have a different taste to its fresh equivalent due to the cooking process, which some people don’t like, and there are some concerns over the aluminium content.
Fresh fruit in plastic packaging can been seen through the clear plastic, giving consumers the opportunity to look at the quality and size of the items before purchase. The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator in the packaging, often trays or small containers that either lay flat, or stack on top of one another, saving space in the refrigerator and extending the life of the product.
Perfect for school lunches, a piece of fruit can be placed into the lunch box without any preparation, and taken out and eaten as required. There are no cans to open or sharp edges for small fingers to touch.
Packaging suppliers have been quick to recognise the benefits of placing all kinds of fruit in different packaging to suit the size and shape. For example, strawberries are usually purchased in a clear plastic container with a lid, while large, soft fruits such as plums, peaches or nectarines are on trays covered by plastic wrap.
While there is no doubt that canned fruit has its place, for convenience, nutrition, taste and ease of preparation, fresh fruit is still the preferred choice for snacks, lunches and desserts.