Attractive Packaging Moves Fresh Produce off the Shelves
Getting fresh produce to market quickly in a country the size of Australia is always a challenge for distributors, so anything that can be done to keep the goods crisp, fresh and inviting is always of interest. Clever people in the fresh food industry have already had great success with packaging salad ingredients in various combinations for busy people who don’t have the time to wash, peel and chop. Even the humble cabbage can now be purchased already prepared for coleslaw with just the dressing needing to be added to take it to the table. Improvements in plastic food packaging have made this possible and our lifestyles suit this type of convenience.
As the demand for other foods packaged in something other than plastic bags increases, we will see more and more products on the supermarket shelves presented in a manner similar to salads. Breads, for example, while still being packaged in plastic, have their brand names and features in colourful graphics on the front of the loaf, with the nutrition information usually on the back. The front panel is designed to attract the consumer’s eye, and their marketing people take great care in designing labels to advantage their product over the competition sitting on the next shelf.
The humble vegetable is still being transported and displayed for sale in consignment boxes, or in bulk displays that allow consumers to select their own pieces. This could be an area where the producers could look at designing some type of plastic food packaging as convenient for busy people as the salad and coleslaw examples. Perhaps a small assortment of typical vegetables in small quantities on a disposable tray, wrapped in specially designed and printed plastic with graphics and nutrition information, could be shipped directly from the farm to the distributor. This convenience would make this an attractive option as the distributor then has only to get the goods quickly to the retail outlet without any repackaging required.
Nuts are another product that would be ideal for shipping direct from the producer to the distributor, provided they could be suitably packaged ready for retailing. A similar treatment to the suggestion for vegetables would see assorted nuts arranged on a disposable party platter and wrapped in suitably printed packaging. Some fruits are currently being packaged at the retail outlet in small quantities e.g. trays of avocados wrapped in plain plastic. These would also be more attractive if the plastic was printed with designs and information to attract the consumer.
Fresh produce spoils quickly in our climate, not only in getting it to market, but in the time it spends on the shelves or on display. Any innovation in packaging that will make it more attractive to the consumer reduces the cost of spoilage and waste.