Palmito: From Glass to Cardboard to Biomass Packaging

Contrary to activists who strive to abandon all packaging, I have argued many times that in addition to enhancing the presentation of fruits or vegetables, the right packaging helps producers to reduce post-harvest losses – to get an idea in Brazil, some 30% to 35% of the annual production of fruits and vegetables is discarded.

Hors d’oeuvre of palmitos

That certainly is the case with palmitos where a new packaging technology is about to replace the traditional glass container by a box made of cardboard, and probably in the near future by a bio-based packaging.

As the palmito is almost unknown, outside Brazil, where it is a staple, and France, where it is a delicacy in hors d’oeuvres, let’s have a look at this vegetable we are talking about first.

Palm heart, in Brazil called palmito, is a vegetable harvested from the inner core and growing first-year buds of certain palm trees. It is costly because harvesting in the wild kills the tree.

An alternative to palm hearts harvested in the wild, are palm varieties which have undergone a process of adaptation to become a domesticated farm species. The main variety is the Bactris gasipaes, known in Brazil as “palmito pupunha”, and in English as “peach palm”.

A forest of Bactris gasipaes, known in Brazil as “palmito pupunha”

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