Over the years, despite innovations in printing, labelling and machining, the corrugated cardboard box tray has basically remained unchanged. Packaging companies might have modified the way the box tray is set up, but there has been no real significant innovation.
The Ampaglas Plastics Group, along with Tri-Pack Plastics in the UK, has now developed a box for packaging soft fruit that is set to change South African produce packaging. Its CoolSeal range of boxes is designed for cold chain delivery of chilled products, but farmers are also using them to transport sensitive or wet-packed products, as well as meat and fish.
This new box is expected to make a huge impact on the banana industry where the harvested fruit is washed, sorted and graded before being packed, cooled and stored in a ripening room. Thick corrugated cardboard boxes with ventilation holes and a wax layer resist collapsing from ambient moisture and the load inside.
However, these waxed boxes can’t be recycled or glued, deteriorate rapidly, are quite heavy and the print quality is not good. Corrosive cardboard and staples damage the fruit and the appearance of the box. The polypropylene CoolSeal boxes are lightweight, 100% recyclable and can be glued at speed.
They are not affected by moisture and palletising. And, unlike conventional cardboard packaging, they don’t have to be ordered six months in advance. The turnaround time is measured in days, not months, so farmers aren’t stuck with a product they don’t want.
Bruising of fruit is much less in the polypropylene boxes and the shelf-life of fruit increases as polypropylene is fibre-free and causes no abrasion.
Unlike in a cardboard box, the fruit can slide around in these boxes without getting damaged. Fruit also ripens faster and stays ripe for longer in these boxes, as the moisture is preserved. This is a first for South Africa and its environmental and product benefits will provide a unique selling point for South African produce marketers. Orders can be made according to size, colour and weight.
Contact Estelle Nagel on 021 510 5508 or email: [email protected]