My early career as a journalist — over a span of roughly six years — involved reporting for metropolitan weekly and daily newspapers.

However, I have spent a much larger portion of my career in the B2B arena, and I cut my B2B teeth reporting on — ta-dah!! — the fresh produce industry.

Hence, I can’t help but get excited when I get to write about packaging as it relates to fresh produce.

In this month’s feature story on form/fill/seal equipment, Formost Fuji President Dennis Gunnell talks about his company’s involvement with fresh produce packaging.

“We have been creating solutions for companies to put packaging equipment on moving trailers so they can harvest it [the produce], wash it and package it right in the field,” Gunnell reports. “We have two customers that are already doing this and putting product on the shelf.”

While companies like Formost Fuji are providing solutions, it’s also true that the fresh produce industry — like many vertical markets — is facing packaging challenges.

Pamela Riemenschneider, Retail Editor for Blue Book Services, recently wrote a great piece about those challenges while covering the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Convention & Trade Show in April.

Participants in a panel discussion offered solutions-based approaches to five key areas of the packaging puzzle:

  • Elimination of packaging through shelf-life advancements
  • Reusable packaging
  • Packaging made with recycled content
  • Packaging designed for greater capabilities with recycling
  • Fully compostable packaging

One of the most important things to remember, said Crystal Howe, sustainability manager for Ice River Springs, a private-label bottled water maker, is to not dive in all at once.

Ice River Springs wanted to convert its bottles to recycled PET and did it in a dramatic fashion by going 100 percent recycled.

“It got expensive because we entered the market really hard,” Howe said. “Don’t jump in at 100 percent. Start at 25 percent and slowly start adding product in.”

Riemenschneider’s complete article regarding packaging for the fresh produce industry can be found here.

Fortunately for me, fresh produce will be the vertical market of focus in our upcoming July eMagazine (Makes sense. I remember traveling to meet growers in July). I can’t wait to report on the innovative solutions that packaging companies are providing for salad growers, pepper growers, berry growers ….

Ah, yes. Getting hungry while doing my job. Just like in my earlier B2B reporting days.

Brad Addington
Chief Editor, Packaging Strategies
(248) 227-4727