Del Monte offers green alternative with pineapple pouch

04/22/2011 01:52:36 PM
David Mitchell

The awards keep coming for Robbie Fantastic Flexibles and the company’s pouches for fresh-cut produce.

The Flexible Packaging Association honored the Lenexa, Kan., company and its Fresh N Tasty pouches March 9 during its annual awards program with a gold for packaging excellence, a gold for technical innovation and its highest achievement award.

Robbie and Del Monte Fresh Produce, Coral Gables, Fla., were honored last October in Orlando, when Del Monte’s cored pineapple — packed in a pouch manufactured by Robbie — was recognized as one of six Impact Award winners during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit.

“The Del Monte pouch is custom designed for their specific needs — product, size, and oxygen transfer rate,” said Drew Lericos, Robbie’s director of marketing. “Otherwise it is very similar to our stock Fresh N Tasty produce pouches. We launched our custom and stock lines into the marketplace at the same time. Del Monte was the first product to hit the retail grocery shelves.”

That was last spring. Lericos said other custom products, which he did not name, are now arriving in retail stores, while more in the development process.

Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for Del Monte Fresh Produce, said the company wanted a package that would satisfy growing consumer demand for packaging that is more environmentally friendly as well as a package that could provide retailers with a more appealing product.

Robbie delivered with a package that requires 67% less fossil fuel and creates 71% less carbon dioxide emissions during production compared to rigid plastic containers typically used to package fresh-cut pineapple. Lericos said truck emissions are reduced by nearly 80% compared to shipping in rigid containers.

“One truckload of our produce pouches would be equivalent to 4½ truckloads of rigid containers due to our small case cube and low shipping weight from source material reduction,” he said.

Christou said the smaller packaging size also helps retailers by utilizing less shelf space more efficiently.

While the exact numbers are unclear, Lericos said Robbie’s micro-perforated packaged also improve shelf life compared to rigid packaging by slowing the respiration rate of the product.



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