Selecting the right packaging for fruits and vegetables is a key factor when it comes to increasing the fresh produce sector’s competitiveness, a workshop organized by the Association of Fruit and Vegetables Producers of Almeria (COEXPHAL) in Spain has found.
The ‘Packaging as profitability and sustainability factors in the fruit and vegetable sector’ noted that using of reusable plastic crates instead of corrugated board boxes costs Almeria’s producers an estimated additional €57.2 million euro.
The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment, and aimed to enhance the sector’s competitiveness through studies that analyze the effect that proper packaging selection has on fruit and vegetable growers, as well as marketers in terms of profits, environmental impact and food safety.
Economist Ramón Tubío, who specializes in the agri-food sector, referenced his own study, Comparatve Analysis of Packaging Costs, to explain that the excess cost involved in using reusable plastic crates instead of corrugated boxes is between 0.20 and 1.20 euros per box, or between 2 and 30 cents per kilo of product.
An analysis of the two box types also found that corrugated board has a lower environmental impact. Furthermore, it was discovered that single-use, versus reusable, packaging minimizes contamination risks, and can even prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
"This factor has a direct impact on profits and entails significant losses not only for producers and marketers, but also for large distributors," Tubío explained.
"The sector should unite to prevent these distortions that lead to inefficiencies for everyone."
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Jenny Whelan. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.