RPCs gaining favor with avocado shippers

11/02/2012 02:59:00 PM
Tom Burfield

Reusable plastic containers are gaining favor among many shippers as well as receivers of Mexican avocados.

“We do a ton of (RPCs),” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.

The company uses the containers for shipping fruit from Mexico to the U.S. as well as for shipping to customers.

“It’s absolutely no problem,” he said.

In fact, Calavo reconfigured packing lines to be compatible with RPCs.

“We love them,” Wedin said. “It’s a really clean, strong product line for us.”

Mission Produce Inc., Oxnard, Calif., ships less than 20% of its product in RPCs, but that number grows every year, said Ross Wileman, vice president of sales and marketing.

The company ships RPCs mostly to retail customers in the U.S. and Canada.

RPCs took some getting used to, Wileman said.

“In the beginning years of RPCs, it was a struggle for all of us,” he said, “but it seems to have improved over the years.”

Demand for RPCs from mainstream retailers as well as big-box stores has increased for Green Earth Produce, Vernon, Calif., said Gahl Crane, director of avocado sales.

Packing the containers is not a problem for the company, he said.

“We’re very customer service-oriented. We do what (customers) want, not what we want,” he said.

“We have many partners in Mexico who are fully capable of packing to whatever specs we need,” Crane said.



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