Keywords: sweet tamarind, physical characteristics, mechanical properties, postharvest damage, retail packaging, pods, rupture force, force deformation, cracks, holes, mould damage
Development of a new retail packaging for sweet tamarind
Sweet tamarind is a flavoursome tropical fruit that is rich in nutrients. The sweet tamarind takes the form of a shelled pod containing seed-bearing flesh. A major problem facing sweet tamarind retailers is that mechanical damage often occurs during the distribution process. This research has sought to propose solutions to this problem by taking the following approach: a) determining the physical and mechanical properties of sweet tamarind pods; b) determining post-harvest damage to sweet tamarind that has been packaged for sale; c) making comparisons in performance between current and new forms of packaging for sweet tamarind. Rupture force and slope of force deformation curve results show that the 'Sitong' cultivar is bigger, denser, sweeter and stronger than the 'Srichompoo' cultivar. However, both suffer broken shells, hairline cracks, stem end cracks, holes and mould damage during the packaging process. 'Srichompoo' fruit is weaker in strength. The new package system provides additional protection to both varieties, and its cost is equivalent to the cost of plastic bags and about half that of paperboard boxes.