Postharvest damage, leading to loss and waste, continues to be a significant problem in the fresh produce industry. Trays, designed to reduce fruit-to-fruit contact, are utilized by the apple industry to minimize bruising of whole apples. During distribution, packaged apples are subjected to various supply chain hazards, which may lead to bruising damage. Currently, molded fiber (MF) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) trays transport whole apples from the packhouse to the retail outlet. Mechanical shock, by free-fall drop method, was used to evaluate the performance differences between the two trays and quantify the bruising characteristics of the apples. Results showed that the EPS trays provided better shock protection to the apple as compared to the MF tray, reducing the impact acceleration by more than 70%. Additionally, the bruise susceptibility was 40% less for the apples packaged inside the EPS trays, regardless of drop height. However, apples packaged in the middle layer...

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