Packaging firms focus on fruit
protect fruit and salads from the usual wear and tear brought about
In an increasingly competitive market, consumers consistently choose products that look fresh and bruise-free, and improved packaging could save the industry millions of euros because of reduced wastage. According to Swedish company Billeraud, the European fruit and vegetable market currently loses around €10bn of profit a year due to damage. Infia UK, a subsidiary of the GSH Group, has extended its range of containers for soft fruits with a new line of punnets. The new containers have a "rib design" that protects fruit during transit, the company claims, but also feature a "transpiration" hole, increasing airflow and ventilation. "By incorporating a ventilation system into the packaging you can keep the fruit fresher for longer and limit the amount which ends up as waste. The ventilation system can also be successfully tailor made for the needs of the fruit, with one example being our new side-ventilated punnet, which is ideal for grapes," said Ian Seamark, sales director at Infia UK. However the new rib design also "meets the very specific needs of the fresh produce industry by providing additional protection during transit, preventing bruising to the contents during handling". Another company focusing on improved packaging for the fresh produce market is Plus Pack, whose new SquarePac range is made using thermoforming techniques. The salad or fruit packs are sealed using heat and pressure techniques, protecting the produce from tampering or knocks during transit. "We expect the market for this type of safety packaging to grow considerably, as interest will increase in the coming years," said Shawn Roberts, UK sales manager for Plus Pack. Several companies have invested in transport solutions over the past year, including Campotek, which is currently researching a Eureka project looking at edible wrappings that prevent browning of vegetables such as onions, carrots, potatoes, turnips, cabbage and lettuce.