Packaging requirements are changing all over the world, as companies try to ditch plastic as much as they can afford to. The new requirements and demands mean opportunities for companies like Milbor PMC, that sells machinery for automated packaging of blueberries, cherries, and walnuts manufactured by A&B Packing Equipment, WECO Sorting and Wizzard Manufacturing.
While most growers and exporters have faced numerous challenges in 2018, thanks to regulations, weather issues or tariffs, for Milbor PMC 2018 was a year of opportunities, claims CEO Piotr Milewski: “Blueberry growers have received different requirements when it comes to packaging, especially the growers who supply directly to retail. There are new types of packaging, like shakers, 2-Go-cups and buckets. It means those who did not invest in flexible packaging technology already, are now in trouble. This is where we come in. We show the potential clients what our machinery can do for them, and what they do is make their life easier.”
Europe is the focus of Milbor PMC, with a target on countries that cultivate blueberries themselves: “Germany is a huge market for us, as they are also moving to tray-sealing there. Spain is a very big producing country as well of course, but we also have a lot of faith in Central-Eastern European countries, like Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. We can’t forget about Poland though, as we as a country are also stepping up our game.” Milewski explains.
“Although we supply Europe with machinery coming from USA, our competition is also mainly from Europe. It means we have to stand out by delivering complete solutions in our machinery, and don’t leave our customers with technical questions or issues they have to solve themselves,” Milewski states. “My family grows blueberries themselves, so I understand that when the season is already short, the last thing a grower needs is technical issues with the packing machines. There is no way you can ensure a problem with machinery never happens, but what we can do is make sure our clients don’t suffer from it and fix everything as quick as we can.”
Recently there has been news on the price of electricity going up in Poland. Milewski says it’s not clear what will actually happen: “The news outlets report different things, contradicting each other on a regular basis. However if the price does go up drastically, it will naturally have an effect on the fruit industry. I do think growers of topfruit like apples or pears will suffer from it a lot more than farmers who grow soft fruit. Soft fruit isn’t stored in cold chambers for the same amount of time apples are stored, so I don’t think it will impact us too heavily.”