[EDITOR’S NOTE: SPW welcomes commentary on any topic from readers. This piece is from WestRock Vice President of Strategic Growth Dwight Morris. If you have an article or idea you’d like to submit, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Growers are always looking for ways to save money throughout the entire distribution channel. Corrugated packaging is great way to do that because our containers let growers ship more product, safely and, potentially, at a lower price than using recycled plastic containers (RPCs). Growers can achieve these kinds of substantial savings because a corrugated box is much lighter than a RPC of similar size and holds more product. That translates to more produce in each load, which means fewer truckloads.
We can also custom design a corrugated container to not only fit the specific produce item, but also protect fruits and vegetables through the shipping and handling process. And because corrugated boxes are single-use containers, this means our customers won’t incur additional costs associated with RPCs, such as washing, sanitizing and disinfecting after every use.
A corrugated container offers multiple big, clean spaces just waiting for graphic treatments. That makes it a mini-billboard the grower can use to brand and differentiate his or her products, in colorful and creative ways. At WestRock, we can design and manufacture custom four-sided or even eight-sided containers to fit virtually any produce item. With compelling graphics and strong messaging on the box, growers can really stand out in a competitive marketplace. It’s hard to do this on an RPC.
We should also always keep in mind that the purpose of the container is to hold the produce safely and economically. So, no matter what the product is, where it comes from, how it is shipped, or what the weather is, growers depend on containers to safeguard the food from the field to the shelf. That means the container must protect the food, keep it fresh and — most importantly – keep the food safe to eat. There are many studies that show corrugated containers do the best job.
Corrugated is by far the preferred shipping container in the U.S. and is recyclable. Most end-users, such as grocery stores, have existing processes to recycle corrugated boxes, which overall have a 92.9% recovery rate.
Corrugated containers are produced using a very high heat, making them sanitary for food. It’s also designed to be used once and then recycled, so, there’s nothing to clean or disinfect after use. By contrast, cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting RPCs in any consistent way is nearly impossible, according to many third-party studies.
If you want to find out what corrugate can do for your produce business, just visit us online at WestRock.com and we’ll be delighted to tell you more.