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Corrugated paper fights plastic for fresh produce share

From Food Manufacture UK

Some large UK retailers are failing to demonstrate the environmental benefits commonly attributed to plastic returnable transit packaging (RTP) when used for fresh produce, instead preferring it for reasons of supply-chain efficiency, the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) has suggested.

“Certain retailers are using RTP to move fruit and vegetables through the supply chain quickly and gain a commercial advantage that way,” said director of packaging affairs Andrew Barnetson.

However, Barnetson pointed out that some retailers with a different sales strategy appeared to favour corrugated cases and trays for produce. The booming home-delivery produce segment had also adopted board as its material of choice.

Meanwhile, Italian research commissioned by the European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers (FEFCO) indicated further reasons for choosing corrugated for fresh produce. A team from Bologna University found that bacteria affected fruit far less when packed in corrugated than in RTP.

“Everything else being equal, the nature of corrugated is that it draws pathogens into the packaging where they dry out and die,” said Barnetson.

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