SPECIAL EDITION: Packaging Trends from the Global Floral and Produce Show: Crawford Packaging’s Insights
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 this special edition, we chat with Doug Crowe, Crawford’s Director of Business Development about the latest trends in produce packaging following the Global Produce and Floral Show in Anaheim, CA.
Doug, you recently attended the Global Produce and Floral Show in Anaheim. Tell us more about it.
Absolutely! It was a phenomenal event and so important for the entire produce industry! It brought together market leaders from over 60 countries and featured more than 1,100 exhibitors. Crawford Packaging has been exhibiting for many years now and it was great to be back again. Our team had a very busy schedule. Every day was filled with meetings and discussions with customers, partners, and long-time industry friends. It was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with everyone.
That’s great to hear. And what can you tell us about produce packaging?
Well, let me start off but telling you more about the importance of produce packaging. I had a very meaningful conversation about it with someone at the show. So, in the US alone, over 119 billion pounds of food is wasted every year. This means people are throwing away nearly 40% of all their food. Fresh fruits and vegetables make up over 45% of this waste. And the primary reason behind this waste is not having the right packaging. The half-eaten packaged foods and those that spoil before they’re even opened are additional contributing factors. This is huge and it just shows you how much we need good and efficient produce packaging. Produce packaging is a powerful tool. It’s not only about preserving freshness and extending the shelf life of fresh produce but also about addressing big issues like food waste and sustainability.
This is very interesting indeed and the numbers are staggering. Given the emphasis on sustainability, how is it shaping the industry trends?
Sustainability was front and center at the show. Companies are taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. Some of these steps involve making environmentally conscious material choices. For instance, we see many companies transitioning to tray seal packaging from clamshell types, which reduces material use and enhances shelf life. The industry is also exploring fiber-based or paper-based alternatives to reduce plastic use. Some companies are redesigning trays to minimize material use without affecting their shipping capabilities. There’s also a growing emphasis on recyclability, compostability, and the use of lower gauge materials. The future holds advancements in active and functional packaging, designs for smaller portions, on-the-go options, intelligent consumer interfaces, and e-commerce-specific packaging. Integrating technologies like AI and data analytics to enhance packaging functionality is also emerging. The essence is – we need effective packaging solutions, and we need them now.
You mentioned functional packaging. We’ve seen it being mentioned increasingly in industry circles. Could you explain its significance?
Certainly. Functional packaging has emerged as a critical solution to some of the challenges I spoke about. As already mentioned, in the US alone, over 119 billion pounds of food is wasted each year. This makes up 20% of landfill weight, making it the most substantial municipal waste source. With functional packaging solutions such as Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), we can address these challenges and minimize their impact. MAP helps prevent produce dehydration, controls moisture, reduces the rate of browning and yellowing, and retains the quality of the produce. It’s suitable for various items like cauliflowers, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and even spinach, extending their shelf life, reducing waste, and positively impacting the environment.
Before we wrap up, tell us a bit about how Crawford Packaging is positioning itself amidst these evolving trends.
At Crawford Packaging, we provide complete packaging solutions tailored to the produce industry. From advanced packaging automation equipment and top-quality consumables to functional packaging innovations, we have you covered. If you’re ready to transform your produce packaging, connect with us.
 https://www.feedingamerica.org/our-work/reduce-food-waste#:~:text=How%20much%20food%20waste%20is,food%20in%20America%20is%20wasted accessed on October 31, 2023
 https://theconversation.com/awareness-of-food-waste-can-help-us-appreciate-holiday-meals-105798 accessed on October 31,2023