The Latest Trends and Developments in Fresh Produce Packaging

Packaging plays a vital role in today’s fast-paced business landscape, ensuring product protection, preservation, and presentation. As the packaging industry continues to grow and adapt to changing market demands, it’s crucial for companies to stay ahead and offer exceptional packaging solutions. To provide insights into this dynamic landscape, we have developed Packaging Talks – a series of conversational panels with Crawford’s packaging experts. Whether you’re a business owner, a packaging professional, or simply curious, our panels aim to offer valuable information and inspiration. 

In the first installment of our Packaging Talks, we chat with Stuart Jackson, Crawford’s Vice President of Produce Packaging, about the latest trends and developments in the fresh produce packaging space.

 

What are the latest consumer trends you’re seeing in fresh produce packaging? 

One of the big ones is the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions. Nowadays, consumers are really looking for eco-friendly options like recyclable or compostable packaging materials. It’s all about reducing waste and being kinder to the environment while providing longer shelf life.  

Another trend that’s gaining traction is convenience packaging. People are busier than ever, and they want produce that’s ready to go. That’s why we’re seeing more pre-cut and pre-packaged fruits and veggies, as well as portion-controlled packaging for on-the-go snacking. It’s all about making life easier for consumers. 

And let’s not forget about the importance of eye-catching packaging designs. When it comes to fresh produce, customers want to see what they’re getting. Packaging that allows for easy visibility of the product, while also providing useful information like origin, nutritional content, and sustainability certifications, is becoming increasingly popular. 

So, as the fresh produce industry evolves, it’s clear that sustainability, convenience, and informative packaging are the key trends to watch out for. 

 

And how about produce growers? What packaging trends are you observing? 

Well, as already mentioned consumers these days are increasingly eco-conscious, so growers and packaging firms are following these trends. They’re using materials that can be recycled or composted to reduce their impact on the environment. It’s a win-win, meeting consumer expectations while also being kind to the planet. They’re also exploring bio-based plastics and plant-based films that not only protect the product but also help extend its shelf life. It’s all about finding innovative solutions that are both functional and sustainable. Who knew packaging could be so smart? 

There is also a lot to say about shelf-life extension. Growers are exploring advanced packaging technologies such as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and active packaging options. MAP involves modifying the gas composition within the package to create an optimal environment for freshness, while active packaging incorporates functionalities like moisture control or antimicrobial properties to preserve the quality of the produce for a longer period. 

These trends in fresh produce packaging are all about making a positive impact. From sustainability to innovation, growers and packaging firms are working together to bring packaging solutions that are not only functional but also good for the environment. It’s exciting to see how the industry is evolving and finding new ways to keep our fruits and veggies fresh and delicious. 

Oh, and let’s not forget about packaging automation. We’re seeing a lot of companies embracing packaging automation.  

 

Why packaging automation for the fresh produce industry? 

Well, packaging automation is a game-changer for the fresh produce industry.  

First off, automation boosts productivity and efficiency big time. It can take care of tasks like weighing, sorting, and packaging, which means less manual labour and increased throughput. By improving productivity, automation enables businesses to handle larger volumes and meet demand efficiently, while reducing operational costs. Moreover, automation helps minimize errors, rework, and product waste, further contributing to significant cost savings. 

Another thing is the shelf-life extension. You know those moments when you grab some fresh produce from the grocery store, only to find it’s already starting to go bad? It’s frustrating, right? Well, packaging automation helps tackle that issue head-on. 

Here’s how it works: When fresh produce is harvested, it’s usually at its peak freshness. But over time, exposure to air, moisture, and other external factors can cause it to deteriorate. That’s where packaging comes in. By using automated systems, we can create a controlled environment for the produce, keeping it in the best possible condition. We can seal the produce in specialized materials that provide a protective barrier. These materials can regulate factors like oxygen and humidity, creating an ideal atmosphere that slows down the aging process. It’s like putting your fruits and veggies in a little bubble of freshness! And the best part? Packaging automation ensures that this protective barrier is consistently applied. Each package is sealed with precision, leaving no room for error resulting in less waste. This means that every piece of produce gets the same level of protection, maintaining its freshness for longer periods. 

 

And how does packaging automation address the growing demand for sustainable packaging in the fresh produce industry? 

Well, automation helps minimize waste by precisely measuring and cutting packaging materials, ensuring that they align with sustainability goals.  

 

Where does Crawford Packaging fit in? 

When you choose Crawford Packaging, you’re getting more than just products. We’re here to provide our partners with complete packaging solutions that are tailored specifically for the fresh produce industry. We work extremely hard to provide you with the best-in-class equipment and high-performance materials that are not only innovative but cost-effective and will set you apart from your competition. What really differentiates us is our deep understanding of produce.  Our packaging specialists know exactly how to protect your fresh produce while making sure it catches the eye on store shelves. They’re not just here to sell you products; they’re committed to your success. That’s why we offer training, technical support, and ongoing service to keep things running smoothly and efficiently. 

When it comes to packaging materials, we’ve got a wide selection to meet your needs. We offer sustainable options for those seeking to reduce their environmental footprint. Flexible films and pallet wrapping solutions are also part of our lineup, providing versatility and reliability. But wait there’s more – we go the extra mile by providing packaging equipment solutions. Our best-in-class shrink wrapping, top-seal, and flow wrap equipment are perfect for handling various packaging requirements, ensuring efficiency and precision.  

And let’s not forget about the exciting innovations we are bringing to the table. We’re constantly searching for new solutions that make a difference. For instance, our GrowPACK net trays use up to 50% less plastic, promoting sustainability and minimizing waste. And our linerless labels? They’re a real game-changer, boosting efficiency and reducing waste in a big way. 

In summary, we have the materials, the equipment, and an amazing post-sale service team to keep the solutions running at optimum efficiency! With Crawford Packaging, you’re not just getting a supplier; you’re getting a trusted partner committed to delivering the best packaging solutions for your business. 

To learn more about produce packaging practices with Crawford Packaging, please visit: