No matter where in the world you live, it is very likely that food is imported into your country. Most consumers do not really think about the process of how the food gets from the farm to the grocery store. What they do consider is whether the product is fresh, whether it is attractive and what the price point is.
On the other side of the coin is the producers and processing companies that know what it takes to get fresh produce to the market. It is not an easy process and it requires a balanced approach. On one hand the product must be protected on the other hand the cost has to be kept low to meet consumer demands.
Finding the perfect balance between protection and costs is not always easy, especially if you are not using the right packaging methods.
Packaging of fruits and vegetables require special handling because of their perishability. There are several ways fruit, and vegetables are shipped to ensure their freshness whether they are headed to the local market or they are headed around the globe.
- 1 What Are Some of the Problems Faced When Shipping Perishables?
- 2 Inappropriate Packaging Can Be a Huge Issue
- 3 Rough Handling
- 4 Climate Control Problems
- 5 The Best Practice for How to Transport Fresh Vegetables
- 6 How Do Pallets Combined with Pallet Collars Work?
- 7 Recyclable
- 8 How to Ship Produce Using Only a Pallet
- 9 Reduce the Amount of Labor It Takes to Get Your Product Out the Door
- 10 Reduce Waste
- 11 The Equipment
- 12 Space Saving
- 13 Better Protection
- 14 Let’s Recap
What Are Some of the Problems Faced When Shipping Perishables?
Unlike other goods, food, especially fruits and vegetables are at risk through out their journey. From farm to table there are a lot of dangers along the way. Shipping is one of the riskiest times for fruits and vegetables. They are exposed to rough handling and tough climate changes.
There are quite a few challenges involved in getting fruits and vegetables from the processing center to the end users successfully including:
- Delays in packaging
- Inappropriate packaging that results in damage to the fruit or vegetables
- Rough handling
- Climate control issues
Delays can increase the risk of losing product. Perishable foods require quick action and to get out of the processing area as quickly as possible and on the transportation conveyance. Difficult to use equipment, packaging and even a shortage of labor can create an environment chockfull of delays.
Avoiding delays is a priority when it comes to shipping perishables but if your process is complicated, dependent on too much labor or requires machinery to navigate you can be in for some disappointment when it comes to getting your produce out the door and on the truck.
When perishables sit for too long, well they perish. That means that revenue is affected negatively, and profits are affected. The goal is to get the goods picked, packed and shipped as fast as possible. Poor packaging choices that require tools and too much labor to manage is one of the quickest ways to lose money!
Inappropriate Packaging Can Be a Huge Issue
Packaging choices for packaging fruits and vegetables are vital to reducing risk of damage during transportation. One of the biggest mistakes a warehouse that manages the packaging of fruits and vegetables makes it choosing the wrong packaging option.
The packaging of fruits and vegetables in wooden crates is the traditional packaging method, however, it is not the best option. There are a few reasons packaging of fruits and vegetables in wooden crates is not the best practice including:
- Inability to customize the packaging size
- Improper protection
- Not tamper proof
- Difficult to manage
- Takes up too much space in the warehouse
Wooden crates are the old way of doing things and like many traditional ways of doing things it can be improved upon. You just must investigate other options that may be a more effective way to protect your products, save on costs and improve productivity.
Because not everyone along the supply chain is going to treat products like fruits and vegetables with the care that they need, it is critical that every step to protect the products are taken before they ship. Rough handling can range from improper stacking to dropping, throwing or banging crates around.
It can be difficult to mitigate this risk because you cannot travel with your product but what you can do is ensure that you are using the right packaging option to protect your goods while they are being handled by others.
The right packaging is the way to protect your investment. While there will still be incidents of rough handling, the right packaging will be able to take the brunt of the mishandling and protect the contents.
Climate Control Problems
Again, no one can follow their product from processing to delivery to the end user to ensure that the climate is being controlled properly but there are steps that you can take to even the playing field a bit and help your fruits and vegetables make it to the end user in better condition.
It is the packaging that makes a difference. The right packaging will allow you to insulate your products against detrimental climate changes.
The Best Practice for How to Transport Fresh Vegetables
Shipping fresh produce is rife with challenges but with a little ingenuity and the right tools you can have confidence in shipping fresh produce. Learning how to ship produce the right way is a great way to protect your bottom line and to make sure you are meeting your customers expectations.
Let’s look at what the right packaging will bring to the table:
- Ease of use
- Highly protective
- Easy to store
- No tools required
- Can be managed by one person
- Easy to receive
Wooden crates and corrugated boxes do not deliver the right type of protection, they can be used but there is an additional step that should be considered to provide the ultimate in protection.
There is a much better option for vegetables packing material, that delivers all the above and more. Using traditional packing materials is fine if you combine it with pallets and pallet collars, or you can forego all the extra packaging and use pallets combined with pallet collars to create a durable, sizable crate that will provide the ultimate protection.
How Do Pallets Combined with Pallet Collars Work?
Typically shipping fresh fruit or shipping fresh produce involves a few different steps which can slow down productivity. For example, fruits are loaded into a corrugated box then added to a pallet, then shrink wrap is added or banding is used to keep the boxes on the pallet.
The process can take far more time than it needs to and of course it leaves plenty of time for something to go wrong. The amount of labor that it takes to double process something to be shipped is costly and a waste of time.
Additionally, the more steps that are in the process to ship fruits and other perishables means that there is a greater risk of injury in the workplace, which of course adds to the overall expense of operation. Cutting out a large part of the processing can be an excellent way to reduce overall risk.
Pallets are used in most every warehouse, no matter what the products are. Adding pallet collars to the process means that you no longer must use corrugated boxes or other crates. You can create a pallet box and ship the food and vegetable directly in them.
Collars are completely adjustable so that you can create boxes of different sizes. They require no tools to construct and can easily be managed by one person. The value is tremendous when you consider how making this one change in the warehouse can affect your productivity, safety and product protection.
One of the best things about choosing pallets and pallet collars as your shipping container of choice is that you can reuse them. Using proper protection inside the pallet box will not only protect your product but it will protect the pallet and collars so that they can be used repeatedly. This can be tremendous cost savings.
How to Ship Produce Using Only a Pallet
If the cost of shipping and packing is a concern, and it should always be a concern, pallets and pallet collars can help to wrangle in that cost. Here are some of the ways that you can reduce costs using this method of packaging:
- Reduction in the purchasing of materials
- Reduction in labor
- A reusable option
- Reduction in the need for equipment
- Reduction in waste management
- Less space required for processing for shipping.
How much are you spending on purchasing packaging materials that you never use again? This can be one of the greatest expenses in your shipping costs. Using less packaging is possible when you choose the right type of packaging. You likely already have pallets on hand, adding pallet collars can be a great savings.
Reduce the Amount of Labor It Takes to Get Your Product Out the Door
When you simplify your packaging for shipping, you reduce the amount of labor that it takes to get your product out the door. Packing and shipping should not be complicated. If you are using multiple containers that require more than one person in a short amount of time to assemble you are doing something wrong.
Pallets, which you are already likely using, can be outfitted with collars that require one person to manage. That can be a great reduction in how many people you must have on the line to get shipments out.
Have you considered how much packaging that you pay for and use, is a one and done material? This approach can drive up costs and unfortunately fill up the landfills with waste. Pallets and collars are a reusable and fully recyclable option. It can reduce the amount of waste that your organization generates and cut back on costs.
Having an option that you can reuse and recycle not only is good for the environment but is also good for the reputation of your company. Reducing waste is important for your business and it is important for the planet. The right packaging option fits the bill nicely for reducing your companies impact on the environment and showing customers that your commitment to environmental health is serious.
Using multiple packaging materials are not a must to get your perishables shipped safely. They can be stacked quickly and easily right on the pallet if you use collars to keep everything on the pallet. It is a simpler option that cuts a lot of the unnecessary packaging materials right out of the picture.
If you are using a shrink wrap system or any type of wrapping or banding system to secure goods to a pallet you are wasting money, space and time. These activities were once necessary to ensure safe transport of goods loaded on a pallet, today they are outdated and unnecessary.
The traditional way of doing things is not always the best way of doing things. It is a time-consuming process to have to wrap or band boxes to a pallet. Adding collars deliver better protection, take less time and do not require any special tools or machinery. As a matter of fact, using pallet collars does not require any tools.
It is a simple one person, one handed operation to utilize pallet collars. It simply makes more sense.
How much space does all the equipment you use to ship take up in the warehouse? Between storing shipping packaging and the equipment that you need to get everything packed up you are probably using a great deal of space.
Reducing the amount of space that you use for shipping prep can mean freeing up the space for other activities. Pallet collars fold flat when not in use. That means they can be stacked in a relatively small area and will be ready when they are needed.
Of course, if you are using pallet collars you will not need to give up floor space to wrapping machines which can have a rather large footprint. There is an added benefit of decluttering the floor as well.
Less equipment can mean less risk of injury. When there is not equipment in the way, labor is free to move around without risk of tripping and other potential injuries.
Wooden pallets that are combined with wooden pallet collars can form a box that keeps unauthorized people out of your product. It can also provide a great deal of protection during transportation and manage rough handling risks well.
One of the main goals when shipping fruit and produce is to provide a safe environment for all shipping activities. The fact that pallet collars are adjustable can help you to have a custom sizes container to ship fruits and vegetables in that protects.
Pallet collars can be used with a lid system that ensures that your perishables are safe from tampering risks.
Most of the world takes fresh fruit and vegetables at the grocery store for granted, they never really stop to think of all the processes in place to get those items to market. If you are in the industry than you understand all the parts and processes that it takes to ensure perishables arrive to the end user in pristine condition.
Shipping fruits and vegetables are a challenge, but it can be made easier if the right packaging choice is made. Just because you have always done things one way it does not mean it is the best way, nor does it mean it is the only way.
Investigating newer options that are focused on saving money, simplifying the process and protecting the product is a better way to do business. There is always room for improvement.
Making simple changes can pay off nicely for producers that ship their perishables near and far. An innovative solution does not have to be complicated. Most operations already have half the solution on hand. Pallets are used in just about every operation. Adding the collars redefines the pallet as the perfect shipping container for fruits and vegetables.
You can have the flexible, cost effective solution that you have been striving for by adding wooden collars to the pallets you already own. It is the one change that you can make for a low investment that will pay nicely on the investment.
Simplifying the process of getting products to the consumer using a cost-effective method can improve your bottom line. Learn more about pallets and pallet collars and how they can help you reduce, reuse and protect!