How flow wrapping can help ease labour shortages in fresh produce
Labour shortages already impacting on the fresh produce industry can be addressed in part by embracing automated packaging machinery, says Tisomi, a specialist in horizontal flow wrapping solutions in the UK.
Flow wrapping technology helps reduce growers’ labour requirements in the pack house and release staff for picking duties, thereby helping to fill the void caused by any shortfall of seasonal workers from overseas.
A survey of growers carried out by the BBC during May and June 2017, as harvesting started to peak, found that just over 50% weren’t sure if they had enough seasonal workers or had fewer than they needed, with 78% saying recruitment had been more difficult than last year. There seems to be a variety of factors, one of them being the uncertainty created by Brexit.
Tisori's 650RJ flow wrapper
However, while the overseas workforce seems to be shrinking in the UK’s fields, demand for British produce is growing, making the need for cost-effective flexible packaging solutions to ensure speed to market even more essential once crops have been picked.
"The extensive choice of flow wrapping equipment for fruit and vegetables is leading many supermarkets to make it their preferred packaging. Fresh produce suppliers, irrespective of size, might have to consider investing in flow wrappers if they are to remain competitive when dealing with high street chains," Tisomi believes.
The company offers edge to edge packaging, to personalised wrapping meeting the needs of growers and suppliers of fresh produce, from heavy bulk items like turnips to delicate fruit such as raspberries.
"Businesses cannot stand still. With Brexit looming over the horizon, fresh produce companies’ ability to meet increasing demand with a potentially reduced workforce will be a test of the fittest – using machinery that facilitates less manual handling, better pack presentation and performance will have immense long-term value," Tisomi concluded.
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Publication date: 10/12/2017
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