sliced oranges and herbs on marble background with text on top reading the produce packaging supplies you should know

The Produce Packaging Supplies You Should Know

With summer now in full swing across the country, people far and wide are likely snacking on cool, sweet treats like watermelon, peaches, or strawberries. Many others might enjoy their favorite summertime salad while on a lunch break. Not only do these foods taste delicious, but they also come with the added benefit of providing exceptional nutritional value. Much of the time, when we buy whole fruits or vegetables, we simply pick them out of a basket at our local grocery store, put them in our bag or cart, and go about the rest of our shopping trip. What many of us fail to consider is how exactly that produce gets from where it is grown to the grocery store and then into our homes. There are a wide range of elements that go into this process and one of the most important is produce packaging supplies. Here’s what you should know about these helpful materials, especially if you or your business ever buys or sells fresh produce.

The Rise of Fresh Produce

Over the past few years, Americans have been more interested than ever before in their own personal health, nutrition, and wellbeing. This means that consumers are hitting the supermarkets with more conscious decision making in mind. Oftentimes, this leads to purchases of fresh, healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. In fact, in 2020, produce sales reached nearly $70 billion in the United States, which was an incredible increase of 11.4% over the previous year. 

assorted fruits and vegetables on wood table

When broken down more specifically, we see that vegetables were up a whopping 14.2% and fruit went up by 8.9% over 2019. The major contributing factors to this are most likely to be increased interest in personal health, as well as more occurrences of families and individuals cooking at home instead of opting for takeout or restaurant meals. Both of these may be attributed at least in part to COVID-19 safety precautions that dominated the globe for much of 2020.

Fresh Produce Will Continue to Rise

Increased demand for fresh produce isn’t going away anytime soon and neither are the produce packaging supplies that go along with it. As of April 2021, the vegetable market is at approximately $3.5 billion. A recent Freedonia Group report estimates that the actual packaging for fresh produce is expected to increase at an impressive rate of 3.7% per year until the year 2024, at which point it is anticipated to hit $6.7 billion. This includes a diverse range of different materials, such as clamshell plastics, bags, flexible pouches, rigid plastic containers, and more. With nowhere to go but up, it’s necessary to know just what you need to keep produce consumers satisfied.

Types of Produce Packaging Supplies

There is a wide variety of different produce packaging supplies available to you, but not all of them are create equally. In order to protect the food itself and make your customers’ lives better, your produce packaging should be easy to open and use, offer convenience, give your produce as long a shelf life as possible, and, wherever feasible, minimize harmful impacts on the environment. Here are some good examples of produce packaging that you’ll want to consider:

  • Rigid Plastic Containers: These handy materials offer outstanding protection and presentation. Due to these great qualities, they may very well end up replacing other forms of produce packaging. They work incredibly well for ready-to-eat, pre-cut, and pre-sliced fruits and veggies (which are often referred to as value added produce).

  • Poly Bags: Value added produce like pre-made salads are convenient, accessible, and tasty. Plastic bags do a great job of keeping these salads safely contained, can also hold dressing packets and other toppings, and even allow you to print logos and other marketing materials directly onto them.

  • Retail Ready Corrugated Boxes: As one of the most dominant produce packaging supplies, retail ready boxes are highly convenient for supermarkets and consumers alike. Bulk produce can be easily stored within, allowing shoppers to pick and choose the individual pieces of fruit or vegetables they want to bring home. Oftentimes, they are used in conjunction with poly bags on a roll that buyers place their produce into before checkout.
three sets of assorted pre-cut fruits in rigid plastic containers on table
Rigid Plastic Containers
open bag of pre-made salad spilling onto white background
Poly Bag for Salad
grocery employee carrying open retail ready corrugated box full of red apples
Retail Ready Corrugated Box

Always Keep It Fresh

Ensuring that your fruits and vegetables are safe and tasty for your buyers is paramount. Thankfully, the right produce packaging supplies do exactly that. Contact IPS Packaging & Automation today at (800) 277-7007 to discuss the right opportunities for your produce packaging process!