US – Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. has forged a strategic alliance with Arena Packaging to introduce Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) for bananas.
This initiative aims to reduce food waste, cut down on carbon emissions, trim operational expenses, and notably maintain the freshness of this leading fruit in the fresh produce segment.
The advent of these RPCs is projected to foster improved airflow, ultimately extending the shelf life of banana shipments.
These containers boast the benefits of reusability and traceability, boasting an impressive lifecycle spanning up to 15 years.
Each container can be effectively reused up to five times within a year, and in the event of damage, they can be easily replaced and repurposed.
Hans Sauter, Chief Sustainability Officer and Senior Vice President of R&D at Fresh Del Monte, expressed, “By focusing on the reutilization of packaging materials, our goal is to diminish our environmental impact while advocating for a circular economy of plastics.
“Following years of collaborative efforts, this pioneering RPC design not only mitigates greenhouse gas emissions but also addresses fruit quality and pallet shipping density, ensuring a sustainable impact at every tier of our supply chain.”
Last month, the companies’ ‘Banana RPCs’ made their debut in South Texas, US, retail stores, providing consumers with an eco-friendly option.
Tony Arena, the founder and CEO of Arena, remarked, “Our collaboration with Fresh Del Monte Produce is poised to redefine the entire spectrum encompassing the packing, shipping, ripening, storage, and merchandising of bananas.
“This marks a significant milestone in our shared mission to establish a more sustainable and circular packaging system.”
Traditionally, for over 60 years, bananas have been conventionally shipped in single-use cardboard boxes, typically accommodating up to 40 pounds per box.
These boxes are then transported to grocery stores, where bananas are manually air-stacked in the back room—a labor-intensive process taking between 20 to 40 minutes to complete.
While cardboard is widely recyclable, seeking solutions that emphasize reusable packaging marks an essential initial step in the fight against climate change.
Previously, bananas were transported by suspending the stalk from hooks in cargo ships, often resulting in the bananas arriving at their destinations in poor condition.