Packaging fresh fruits and vegetables are one of the more important steps in the long and complicated journey from grower to consumer. Bags, crates, hampers, baskets, cartons, bulk bins, and palletized containers are convenient containers for handling, transporting, and marketing fresh produce.
Packing and packaging materials contribute a significant cost to the produce industry; therefore it is important that packers, shippers, buyers, and consumers have a clear understanding of the wide range of packaging options available.
1. The function of packaging or why package produce?
In the near future, almost all product packaging will be recyclable or biodegradable, or both. Many of the largest buyers of fresh produce are also those most concerned about environmental issues.
The trend is toward greater use of bulk packages for processors and wholesale buyers and smaller packages for consumers. There are now more than 1,500 different sizes and styles of produce packages.
High-quality graphics are increasingly being used to boost sales appeal. Multi-color printing, distinctive lettering, and logos are now common.
Modern produce packaging can be custom engineered for each commodity to extend shelf life and reduce waste.
The container must enclose the produce in convenient units for handling and distribution. The produce should fit well inside the container, with little wasted space.
The package must protect the produce from mechanical damage and poor environmental conditions during handling and distribution. To produce buyers, torn, dented, or collapsed produce packages usually indicate a lack of care in handling the contents.
Produce destined for export markets requires containers to be extra sturdy. Air-freighted produce may require special packing, package sizes, and insulation.
Produce containers should be produced friendly – helping to maintain an optimum environment for the longest shelf life. This may include special materials to slow the loss of water from the produce, insulation materials to keep out the heat, or engineered plastic liners that maintain a favorable mix of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The package must identify and provide useful information about the produce. It is customary (and may be required in some cases) to provide information such as the product name, brand, size, grade, variety, net weight, count, grower, shipper, and country of origin.
2. Types of Packaging Materials
Wood. Standard size pallets make efficient use of truck and van space and can accommodate heavier loads and more stress than lighter single-use pallets. Additionally, the use of a single pallet size could substantially reduce pallet inventory and warehousing costs along with pallet repair and disposal costs.
Plastic stretch film is also widely used to secure produce packages. A good film must stretch, retain its elasticity, and cling to the packages. The plastic film may conform easily to various size loads. It helps protect the packages from loss of moisture, makes the pallet more secure against pilferage, and can be applied using partial automation.
Corrugated Fiberboard. Corrugated fiberboard (often mistakenly called cardboard or pasteboard) is manufactured in many different styles and weights. Because of its relativity low cost and versatility, it is the dominant produce container material and will probably remain so in the near future. The strength and serviceability of corrugated fiberboard have been improving in recent years.
Other interesting page: The benefits of flexible seafood packaging
Pulp Containers. Containers made from recycled paper pulp and a starch binder are mainly used for small consumer packages of fresh produce. Pulp containers are available in a large variety of shapes and sizes and are relatively inexpensive in standard sizes. Pulp containers can absorb surface moisture from the product, which is a benefit for small fruit and berries that are easily harmed by water. Pulp containers are also biodegradable, made from recycled materials, and recyclable.
Paper and Mesh Bags. Consumer packs of potatoes and onions are about the only produce items now packed in paper bags. The more sturdy mesh bag has much wider use. In addition to potatoes and onions, cabbage, turnips, citrus, and some specialty items are packed in mesh bags. Sweet corn may still be packaged in mesh bags in some markets. In addition to its low cost, the mesh has the advantage of uninhibited airflow. Good ventilation is particularly beneficial to onions. Supermarket produces managers like small mesh bags because they make attractive displays that stimulate purchases.
Plastic Bags. Plastic bags (polyethylene film) are the predominant material for fruit and vegetable consumer packaging. Besides the very low material costs, automated bagging machines further reduce packing costs. Film bags are clear, allowing for easy inspection of the contents, and readily accept high-quality graphics. Plastic films are available in a wide range of thicknesses and grades and may be engineered to control the environmental gases inside the bag. The film material “breathes” at the rate necessary to maintain the correct mix of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor inside the bag. Since each produce item has its own unique requirement for environmental gases, modified atmosphere packaging material must be specially engineered for each item. Research has shown that the shelf life of fresh produce is extended considerably by this packaging. The explosive growth of precut produce is due in part to the availability of modified atmosphere packaging.
3. A supplier of prestigious and quality plastic films
Union Packaging with many years of experience in the field of providing plastic films and plastic packaging is manufactured from virgin plastic particles and meets FDA standards. Customers can rest assured when cooperating with us because Union Packaging always ensures:
- Customer satisfaction is the number 1 priority
- Outstanding product quality from stable sources of quality goods from Taiwan and China
- Competitive price
- Reputation builds a brand
- Product safety certification
- Fast shipping
- Various payment policies
- Enthusiastic, dynamic, and creative staff
- Providing a wide range of plastic films for packaging materials
- Being a close partner of many suppliers
Union Packaging is a reputable and experienced supplier of OPP, CPP, MCPP, PET, MPET, PE laminated film…. in the industry. We always try to research, develop and improve product quality, improve customer care ability to meet the increasing demands of the domestic and foreign packaging market. Please contact us now: 0987 437 469 – 0903 750 384 for specific advice and quotation.
UNION PACKAGING SOLUTION JOINT STOCK COMPANY
Address: No. 5, 3643A Street, Pham The Hien, Ward 7, District 8, HCMC
Tel: 0987 437 469 – 0903 750 384