For perishable products such as fruits and vegetables, the type of packaging used is vital as it can affect the product’s shelf-life and safety. FarmFresh packaging is designed by Brazilian company Termotécnica and distributed to Brazilian growers and exporters of fresh produce. Nivaldo Fernandes de Oliveira is the superintendent director of Termotécnica, and he explains: “EPS helps to maintain the thermal characteristics inside the packaging, as well as regulating the humidity inside the packaging. This helps to keep the water levels of the product at the right levels to ensure that the product remains at the highest quality for a longer time.”
Packaging designed for long-distance exports
The company’s initial focus was in the fresh fruit export market, but they found there was great demand for the product in the internal Brazilian market. Mr. Nivaldo shares: “The people here saw that the imports coming into the country used EPS packaging and they saw the benefits that came with it. They also felt that this type of packaging helped communicate to the global markets their product was of high quality. So, we decided to introduce the packaging domestically here in Brazil and it really took off.”
The packaging is designed for export products and works to protect the product while helping to extend its quality and shelf-life. “We work with many growers across a diverse range of fruits such as avocados, papayas, mangos, grapes, and more. We started out working with grapes and then we realized that there were a lot of other products that could benefit from this product. The EPS packaging is the beginning of the product’s postharvest journey, and it allows the exporters to ship their product all over the world without worrying about the state the product with arrive in. This packaging also helps reduce freight rates because of its lightweight properties,” says Mr. Nivaldo.
Increased demand for packaging during pandemic
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the company has seen both an increase and a shift in the demand for their packaging. “The shopping habits of the consumers have changed,” says Mr. Nivaldo. “They want to feel extra security when they buy the product, and packaging is an important part of that. In addition to this, the increase of direct-to-consumer delivery has also given us new platforms of distribution. While our packaging was initially designed to work for exporters, it is now also used in e-commerce channels.”
Mr. Nivaldo explains that a PMA survey in Brazil shows that customers are report that they want more packaging on their products for safety reasons. “59% of consumers report that they look for more packaging on their fresh products for safety reasons,” he shares. “The same is happening in the export market too. For limes, for example, the demand has gone up a lot because of their vitamin C content. And our packaging is used on these limes; our packaging actually helped to increase the freshness of the limes and helps them stay green for longer.”
New product release: Packaging with antiviral properties
In addition to the increased demand for their current packaging line, the Termotécnica is also going to be releasing a new packaging option which is designed to cater to optimal levels of food safety. “Our new packaging will have an antiviral feature. We have finished our own lab tests and are now having it tested in third party labs across Brazil to be sure of the strength and efficiency of the antiviral features. We want to be sure that the product will be efficient and long-lasting,” explains Mr. Nivaldo.
Sustainability and recyclability
In Brazil, it is mandatory for all packaging to be sustainable, but FarmFresh packaging works to exceed these guidelines and is 100% recyclable. “We are responsible for 30% of all postconsumer-recycled EPS products in Brazil,” Mr. Nivaldo says. “In 2018 we received a sustainability award as the most sustainable company in Brazil because of our work with the recyclable EPS. For us, sustainability is one of the building blocks of our company and it is a very important value for us. The EPS packaging is recycled upon arrival in the Europe, and then when product is imported into Brazil with EPS packaging we collect and recycle the product here,” Mr. Nivaldo concludes.
Termotécnica’s packaging is used in many different sectors, ranging from produce to pharmaceuticals. The company is works with all kinds of innovations and novelties, with sustainability at the forefront of everything they do.
And with the WorldStar 2019 award, granted by the WPO (World Packaging Organization), one of the most important recognitions in the packaging market in the Food and Save Food categories, Termotécnica has established itself as a global reference in post-harvest solutions, making Brazilian fruits and vegetables gain a more prominent place in international markets while combating food waste.