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The Unsung Hero of Fresh Produce... the Packaging

National Strawberry Day – Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Whether you’re eating imported, local, or even growing your own fresh strawberries, make sure you don’t end up throwing out the fruits of your labour. Besides being a waste of money, time and energy, uneaten fruits and veggies that end up in landfills are one of the main sources of greenhouse gases in North America. Proper packaging reduces food lost to spoilage and the amount of waste created every day.

The statistics are staggering:

Over half of all edible strawberries grown in Ontario are lost to spoilage — discarded in processing, transportation, supermarkets and household kitchens.1 As much as $31 billion in total food is thrown away in Canada each year2, with almost half occurring in the home. The average four-person household throws out roughly $1,500 of food each year3.

When we discard food, all the resources to grow, ship and produce it are wasted as well, including massive volumes of water and energy. In the US alone, the amount of water loss from food waste is like leaving the tap running and pouring 40 trillion litres of water down the drain.

 various fruits and vegetables packed in clear plastic trays in retail shelf for sale

The Naked Truth About How Food Packaging Can Help You Waste Less Food

 

88% of people believe that food packaging is a bigger problem than food waste itself, but when we consider the CO2 emission rates, we see that packaging is responsible for 11% and food waste is responsible for 89%.  The reality of the situation is much different than consumer perception. Food waste is a massive problem in North America and food packaging can help. Food Packaging is the safety net for food that helps to protect and cushion it during transport. The proper packaging also saves and extends the life cycle of that product, which in turn helps to reduce waste.

Without today’s advanced food packaging nearly 85% of all fresh foods would not make it to market because of damage and spoilage.

Getting food product from field, to processing, to packaging and to market is a complicated and rigorous process and can be a rough ride.  Once the food is eventually packaged, the odds of that product getting to the consumer in as made condition is increased exponentially with the right choice of packaging. Today’s specialty Food Packaging allows packaged foods to be protected from physical damage, light, air and temperature changes. Cutting edge protective food films and containers allow fruits and vegetables to properly exchange gases to keep them ‘alive’ for extended periods of time, which allows consumers more time to enjoy them.

Today’s Packaging choices are more environmentally friendly and have a real relationship with the food they are protecting. Without today’s advanced food and produce packaging, nearly 85% of all fresh foods would not make it to market because of damage and spoilage.


Strawberry Packaging

Proper packaging can help extend shelf life, reduce damages and increase the consumer perception of your strawberries. But which type of packaging is right for your berries?

 strawberries and raspberries packed in GrowPack lidding film

Top Seal Packaging

Top seal or lidded tray packaging is one of the most popular packaging formats across Europe. Top seal packaging is an environmentally friendly packaging option with the ability to reduce packaging materials by 25%. Top seal packaging can be developed with a variety of films and seal types and is adaptable for modified atmosphere options to increase shelf life. Lidding films offer growers and packers increased messaging options and can be printed in a variety of colours. Peal and re-seal films can be used to increase packaging usability and provide consumers with a container for washing and storing their strawberries.

Clamshells

Clamshell packaging is the go-to packaging type for strawberries. These containers are made from rigid plastics and will come with a lid made from the same material. Usually, the lid will be attached to the container itself, preventing it from being misplaced. These containers have engineered venting to enable healthy gas exchanges with the benefit of a hard-exterior shell. The protective outer shell protects the strawberries during transport prevents bruising and damage to the berries. The clamshell also provides consumers with a usable container for washing and storing their fresh strawberries.

 strawberries packed in clear clamshell growpack produce packaging container
 strawberries packed in various on the go growpack produce packaging containers

On the Go Containers

On the go packaging is one of the largest emerging markets in fresh fruit and vegetable packaging. Research shows that there is a growing number of snackers who rely on quick and easy meal replacements and snacks for their daily food intake. GrowPack On The Go containers offer growers and packers innovative new packaging options for this fast-paced, growing market.

Berry Baskets

The traditional form of strawberry packaging. The berry basket is often seen as the harbinger of fresh. These fibre trays are used by local growers who sell their berries quickly, to local retailers and farmers markets. These trays use engineered ventilation that promotes the healthy exchange of gases that cycle out the gases that cause spoiling for fresh air. These baskets are often paired with a plastic film top to prevent spillage.

 raspberries in blue fiber trays inside plastic flat on market shelf

Let's Connect

Are you getting ready for this year's picking season? Contact Crawford Packaging and speak with one of our Packaging Specialist today. Schedule a free packaging consultation and learn how Crawford Packaging can help you improve your packaging effectiveness and reduce packaging costs.

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References

  1. S., & A. (1970, January 01). AN ANALYSIS OF FOOD WASTE IN ONTARIO'S DOMESTIC FRESH STRAWBERRY SUPPLY CHAIN. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from https://yorkspace.library.yorku.ca/xmlui/handle/10315/30195
  2. How Canada sucks at reducing food waste | CBC News. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canada-food-waste-1.3813965
  3. Gersen, J. (2016, August 24). The Single Bad Reason We Waste Billions of Pounds of Food. Retrieved April 05, 2018, from http://time.com/4463449/food-waste-laws