The Israeli company said its Shelf Life Booster (SLB) system can typically extend the shelf life of fresh sushi to five days – with no effect on taste or texture and without the need to use preservatives.
The packaging technique overcomes a major challenge to producers and retailers in distributing sushi. The longer shelf life has the aim of ensuring fewer returns, less wasted product, more demand and greater profits, Hefestus CEO Oded Shtemer told FoodProductionDaily.com.
An advantage of the SLB system is it can achieve residual oxygen levels of less than one per cent more quickly than current MAP systems, and with better results than vacuum packing solutions, said the company. This is particularly important with seafood and fish that have such sensitive texture.
The packaging systems are designed to handle a variety of tray and packing sizes, with fast set up times between different product types and different trays. The entry level model has a throughput capacity of between 600-800 trays per hour, while machines for larger players can process up to 3,600 units per hour. Purchase costs range from around €30,000 to €60,000, said the Hefestus CEO.
“Further advantage lies in easy clean-up and operation—crucial in ready-meal packaging lines, especially those utilizing fresh fish,” he added. “Importantly, use of this system allows for significant expansion of the geographic marketing area thus increasing overall sales of fresh sushi products.”
Shtemer said the company is looking to double its annual sales in 2010 – fuelled in part by its expansion into the sushi segment. Headquartered in Israel, Hefestus has 20 distributors in Europe as well as a presence in the United States.