Sustainable Produce Packaging
The Power of Produce Packaging
Packaging impacts not only the health and appearance of produce but can affect other things like price and safety. Packaging is crucial for distributing fresh produce safely, maintaining its freshness, and extending shelf life.
Branding (or labeling) is a major focus for any product on the shelf, and it’s especially important for produce packaging. Does the label convey the proper message? Will the consumer realize they’re purchasing an organic product when they look at the label? Do they trust the quality when they see a certain logo? When consumers know they can trust a particular grower, they are much more likely to purchase that product over and over again.
Sustainability is another key factor influencing shoppers today. Is the packaging reusable or does it contain single-use plastic? Growers, shippers, and distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables agree that the biggest challenge to sustainability has been produce packaging. The market for sustainable packaging is growing as global waste continues to have a huge impact on the environment. Plastic waste is undoubtedly one of the biggest problems plaguing our planet, and packaging is by far its biggest proponent, estimated to contribute more than 140 million tonnes to the plastic waste problem globally per year. As a result, consumers and governments have increasingly been pushing for change, pressuring businesses to shift the way their products are packaged to be less harmful to the environment. France, for instance, introduced a packaging ban for fruits and vegetables as part of its ultimate goal to phase out all single-use plastics by 2040.
One particular challenge that is unique to packaging produce is the impact packaging has on the quality of the product. Choosing the wrong packaging can be seriously detrimental to the overall health and freshness it retains from the field to the shelf. If a product does not look healthy or fresh on the shelf, consumers are not likely to purchase it. In the case of romaine lettuce, wilting of the outer leaves is to be expected. Even though the underlying leaves may be fresh and perfectly good for consumption, the consumer might not think so. That is why it’s important that packaging not hinder the employees at the store level from trimming, watering, and presenting the produce looking its very best.
One more thing that affects a consumer’s decision is safety. That is incredibly important when it comes to consumables. A consumer that picks up a bunch of leafy greens and sees unsightly rust stains (left behind from a twist tie) is probably going to perceive the product as unsafe for consumption. Produce that is maintained on the shelf is sprayed with water to help it retain freshness, therefore it’s very important that anything that comes in contact with it is not going to leach unsafe chemicals or damage the delicate leaves or stems.
So, what’s the answer for growers, shippers, and distributors of fresh fruits and vegetables? While there isn’t one answer for all, there is one true leading solution for most and that’s the eco-friendly, reusable, customizable, and versatile rubber band.
Sustainable Produce Packaging
In general, rubber bands are sustainable. They can be reused in many different ways, which increases their sustainability. To further increase the rating, the harvesting of the latex itself is an eco-friendly process. Latex is harvested from rubber trees much like the process used to extract maple syrup. The trees can be tapped for up to 28 years and can be harvested without cutting down the trees. Additionally, programs and education for rubber tappers that help reduce deforestation and promote better use and management of natural resources have made rubber tapping more sustainable.
However, it’s not the process of collecting latex that is the problem when it comes to eco-friendliness – it’s how the rubber bands themselves are made. The manufacturing process is mostly mechanical and relies on lots of energy to heat the rubber and power the machines used to make rubber bands.
For the Alliance family, sustainability is a forward-thinking concept based on a strategy that incorporates environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity…
Produce Packaging for Improved Product Quality
Nothing says “fresh produce” like fresh produce. Product visibility is highly preferred and consumer studies have shown a clear preference for simplicity. Rubber bands allow the customer to handle and inspect what they plan to buy with a full 360˚ view while also protecting the product. To entice customers to purchase, retailers aim to carry blemish-free produce with a long shelf life. Produce rubber bands shrink with the product as moisture is lost and maintain a firm, gentle hold. This provides a fresh appearance and requires less maintenance at the store level.
Safely Packaging Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Consumers can rely upon FDA CFR 21 177.2600 put into place by the USA food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically when it comes to the direct contact of rubber bands with the food they eat. Alliance Rubber Bands comply with the specifications of FDA 21 CFR part 177.2600 as well as the European Union Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and subsequent amended directives.
Put simply, our Produce Bands do not give rise to harmful health effects during the process of food production and manufacturing, preparation and treatment, processing, packaging, distribution, and/or storage. They will never leave brown water spots or rust stains or leach unsafe chemicals.
In fact, we pride ourselves on being the original pioneer of rubber bands for produce applications and have been providing products for the industry since 1923!
Produce Branding and Labeling with Rubber Bands
Branding and labeling your fresh fruits and vegetables with your name, website, country of origin, and PLU number not only provides ease at checkout but also provides greater recognition in the marketplace. Additionally, consumers will discover hundreds of uses for your custom produce bands even after your product is gone, providing you with subtle, ongoing advertising.
Want to learn more about the full line of products for Produce and Floral applications? Visit our produce, floral, and grocers page. Have questions? Fill out our contact form and someone will be in contact with you!
Alliance Rubber Company is a family-owned business with humble beginnings that has grown into a thriving American success story. Since 1923, Alliance Rubber has proudly produced rubber bands for use in the home and workplace. Continuing to manufacture its products in the USA, enables Alliance to provide high-quality products, fast service, and fresh stock that is built to last. Alliance Rubber, a women-owned company, manufactures bands that ‘Hold Your World Together.’