Nearly 1.3 billion tons of food produced for human consumption is getting wasted every year. Post-harvest food loss is acting as a major factor leading to food insecurity for millions of families globally. The sustainable development goal aimed at achieving “zero hunger” by 2030 requires minimizing post-harvest losses by implementing effective post-harvest treatments. This is significantly expanding the post-harvest treatment market. On the other hand, a surge in consumer preferences for foods with medicinal value is leading farmers to increasingly adopt appropriate post-harvest practices which allow for the storage of fresh fruits for a longer duration and to reduce associated losses. Consequently, horticultural industries are increasingly adopting post-harvest technologies on a large scale to satisfy the continuous demand for high nutritional and sensory quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Metabolism activity, ripening, and senescence processes involved for freshly harvested products have to be controlled to prolong their post-harvest quality. At present, post-harvest treatment places emphasis on flavors along with the preservation of nutritional qualities. Technologies such as cool storage, controlled atmospheric storage, modified atmospheric packaging, fumigation with nitric oxide, and varied chemical treatment are being used to preserve non-climacteric fruits for longer periods, to achieve strategic sales in the post-harvest treatment market.

Traditionally, conventional chemical fungicides are prevalently used to control the postharvest diseases of fresh fruits and also to analyze the genome sequencing of the postharvest fungus. Yet, non-polluting alternatives have become the choice of treatment to protect human health and the environment. Thus, toxicity chemicals are preferred as food preservatives or generally recognized as safe (GRAS) compounds, due to their low toxicological effect on the environment and mammals as well. Coatings support “zero-residue” fresh fruit production systems, as they are used to replace the fungicide-amended commercial waxes. Currently, increasing usage of GRAS salts as ingredients in edible coatings, coupled with the acceptance for coatings in the fresh fruit industry to ensure longer shelf lives of fruits and also as a substitute for pre-storage waxes, especially in the case of mixed formulations with conventional fungicides, is driving growth of coatings in the post-harvest treatment market. Therefore, developments such as the usage of GRAS salts as antimicrobial ingredients in novel synthetic composite coatings are positively impacting the growth of the global post-harvest treatment market. On the other hand, Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is highlighting as a powerful sanitizer to use postharvest produce. Furthermore, the global post-harvest treatment market was estimated to be $1.3 billion in 2018, and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 5.21% during the forecast period 2019-2025.

Coating post-harvest treatment is identified as the fastest-growing type among cleaners, fungicides, ethylene blockers, sprout inhibitors and sanitizers in the global post-harvest treatment market; and is set to grow at a CAGR of 4.6% over the forecast period. Edible coatings are an innovative method for prolonging the commercial shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Highly perishable tropical fruits and berries are in dire need of coatings that offer prolonged shelf lives. The nature of coatings to block moisture and gas help control microbial growth and assist in the preservation of color and texture. The application of coatings to fruits and vegetables majorly improves their quality and shelf life. In addition to this, it provides a modified atmosphere, delays color changes and loss of aroma, and also improves the appearance of the product. For instance, chitosan and polyamine spermidine coatings are applied during the storage of mango's, because they are more potent, to add value in terms of weight, flavor, and vitamin C. Additionally, they provide firmness and allow for a delay in ripening of mango's, thereby increasing the storage life of the fruit. Furthermore, the addition of these edible coatings increases the total antioxidant and phenol contents within the fruit and protects the same from various anti-fungal effects.

APAC Post-Harvest Treatment Market:

The University of Calabria, post-harvest losses of minimally processed fruits can be determined by considering factors such as species, harvesting, transport, and storage. These losses represent nearly 20-25% of total production in industrialized countries, and more than 50% in the case of developing countries, due to a lack of optimal post-harvest operation techniques. Thus, the above statement clearly states that developing countries are in dire need of ideal post-harvest treatments to decrease losses associated with the same. Post-harvest handling deals with the cleaning, packing, processing, storage, transportation, and distribution of various fruits and vegetables. South Asian countries, namely, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka aimed to reduce the quantitative loss in fresh horticultural supply chains. In addition to this, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries’ increased focus on the quality of fresh produce coupled with cost-effective management is driving the APAC post-harvest treatment demand. Approximately 40% of food losses (by volume) are believed to occur in the post-harvest and processing parts of the food system in low-income countries. Hence, APAC has been established as the dominating region, which accounted for a regional share of 38% in the global post-harvest treatment market in 2018.  The widespread application of bio-technology helps in maintaining the quality of fresh produce postharvest and also reduces storage losses.

Large Scope-Post-Harvest Treatment Market in Africa:

Fruits and vegetables are key food commodities particularly in developing countries such as Nigeria. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the African continent and is working hard to achieve self-sufficiency in feeding about 150 million people. Fruits and vegetables are highly preferred for their ability to provide a balanced and healthy diet for people. In the wake of this, farmers in African countries are engaged in reducing the post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables by implementing various post-harvest treatments such as coatings, fungicides, and ethylene blockers. Most of the African countries are suffering from high levels of post-harvest losses owing to inappropriate handling of post-harvest produce including rudimentary post-harvest practices followed by small farmers in their own homes, which has been resulting in low-quality products and high post-harvest losses. All the above-mentioned factors are creating a significant number of opportunities for the post-harvest treatment market to excel in Africa.

Major Players in Post-Harvest Treatment Market:

Decco - UPL, Pace International, Xeda International, JBT Corporation, Agro Fresh Solutions Inc., Syngenta AG, Nufarm Americas Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Bayer AG, FMC Corporation, and Fomesa Fruitech S.L. are the key players operating in the global post-harvest treatment market. Recent developments in the post-harvest treatment marketplace include:    

SmartFresh technology improves the storage systems of Agrofresh and supports the delivery of fresh produce. The storage potential of this technology helps extend the ripening time of fruits & vegetables, and thereby advantageous to growers, packers, retailers, and consumers. Additionally, it aids the long-distance transportation of fruits and vegetables. In 2018, AgroFresh Solutions, Inc. introduced SmartFresh Inbox, a powerful treatment that prolongs freshness, and used especially by U.S. customers. These convenient SmartFresh InBox sachets are easy to apply, protect against internal and external threats to freshness, and ensure a longer shelf life for products. They also reduce the shrinkage of fruits and vegetables and enhance profits for growers.

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