For fruit from Brazil to reach overseas destinations like Europe in perfect condition, Termotécnica has developed the recently launched the FarmFresh conserver box. “It allows produce to maintain its premium quality during long transit times,” says S. Nivaldo de Oliveira, Managing Director with Termotécnica.
Conserver boxes are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and according to the company, certified tests by European laboratories AgroTropical and HDG have demonstrated that the fruit’s freshness is preserved for much longer. This packaging results in less dehydration, produce reaching the desired temperature faster as well as maintaining its cold temperature for longer. “By preserving the fruits’ water levels, our application also conserves nutrients. In this race against time, our post-harvest solution extends the shelf-life of fruits by up to 30 percent, contributing to reduced food losses and food waste,” Nivaldo de Oliveira commented.
Lighter in weight
In addition, depending on the type of fruit, conserver boxes are up to 60 percent lighter, representing about six percent savings in air freight. “This brings down the logistical costs of exporting and increases the competitiveness for our customers as well as agents involved in international trade,” commented Nivaldo de Oliveira. The designed also adds value visually at the Point of Sale.
The EPS conserver boxes are 100 percent recyclable and once recycled, they become raw material for other applications. Throughout Europe, solid waste operators are integrated into a reverse logistics system and the material from the conserver box is fully compliant with the post-consumer recycling chain. “We have also advanced in the circular economy with the EPS of our packaging being transformed into PS. This new resin is used by other industries throughout Europe in various other applications and in the composition of packaging with recycled content,” said Nivaldo de Oliveair.
Since it began working with fruit exporters, Termotécnica has been part of the Global Packaging Alliance, a global partnership to recycle packaging that involves all links in the production and logistics chain to the final consumer. The infographic below shows the ‘Reverse Logistics Process and Recycling Mango Conserver Boxes in the Netherlands’.
The circular economy of FarmFresh conserver boxes was put into practice, starting in Brazil and ending in the Netherlands with reverse logistics and EPS recycling.
Which produce items travel in conserver boxes?
Termotécnica has been working mostly with Brazilian fruit producers for the export of their products. “So far, our boxes have been mainly used for grapes, but we’ve advanced our applications for other fruit items, including limes, mangos, pitahayas as well as figs more recently.” The line of conserver boxes has been designed to serve the entire fresh produce industry, expanding into vegetables and flowers over time. “Due to their tightness and temperature maintenance characteristics, the company’s packaging solutions add a hydration element, maintaining the freshness and vivacity of flowers.
Demand for conserver boxes has been growing, primarily driven by buyers from Europe who highly value reverse logistics and reduced waste. In addition to increased demand from retailers, consumers have also become more demanding. The increased concern regarding health safety has resulted in consumers increasingly preferring to buy products that are ready-to-eat, avoiding handling as much as possible. “Individually packaged foods, portioned into cups or cut up to eat with a spoon are some examples of this added value,” shared Nivaldo de Oliveira. “Our conserver packaging ticks the box with its appeal of cleanliness.”
In addition to cleanliness, the packaging is fully adaptable to e-commerce, a channel that Termotécnica believes will become ever more present in people’s shopping habits. “The habit of buying through e-commerce is a trend that will become permanent, and packaging will play a fundamental role in distribution and new service complexity,” he said. “Our conserver boxes have shown to be efficient in the context of e-commerce delivery.”
Termotécnica’s conservation solutions have been well received in foreign markets. “Our clients realize we offer a differential. The extended shelf-life and the logistical efficiency of our solutions provide our customers with increasing competitiveness in international trade, resulting in higher sales volumes. The combination of conservation technology and the design of our EPS FarmFresh solutions enables our customers to differentiate themselves in the market.”