The trend of removing plastic packaging has also found its way to Greece. Consumers and importers alike are fighting for this cause to keep the planet healthy. For one Greek packhouse it’s an opportunity to not only improve the quality of the packaging, but also the cherries themselves.
For Yaka IKE, a Greek company that packs cherries, the weather has played a big role this season. Mr. Levent Sadik Ahmet, the owner of Yaka IKE, claims some of the produce has been damaged: “Due to heavy rains and hail storms we’ve seen some damages in the early varieties of the cherries. But we’re still able to meet demand and supply our customers with the quality that they’ve come to expect from us.”
The talk of the day when it comes to packaging is the issue of plastic. Yaka also feels the heat of the global awareness and the demand to reduce plastic in packaging: “We are trying to reduce the use of plastic in our packaging, as it’s vital to keep our planet healthy. Currently we’re running some trials to replace the plastic packaging with organic packing materials. Hopefully this will be a success.” Sadik Ahmet explains.
The industry of cherry packing has gone through quite some developments the past few years. According to Sadik Ahmet, the biggest improvement has been the new optical calibrator: “Our new optical calibrator can recognize the inner bleeding of the fruits, can select cherries based on their color and even identify small pittings. This technology will help us grow even bigger in the cherry business and our plan is to increase production in the next three years. Our main goal is to increase the quality of the Greek cherries, the packaging it’s delivered in and even the quality of our packhouse itself. This is one of the reasons why we are the only BRC AA+ certified packhouse."
After packaging the cherries, they are exported to various European countries: “Northern European countries tend to buy fruits and vegetables from other European countries, as the restrictions and regulations for fertilizers and pesticides are more strict. This gives us an advantage and allows us to export to markets like Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.” Sadik Ahmet concludes.