Packaging Requirements For Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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Packaging fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the more important steps in the long and complicated journey from grower to consumer. Bags, crates, hampers, baskets, cartons, bulk bins, and palletized containers are convenient containers for handling, transporting, and marketing fresh produce. More than 1,500 different types of packages are used for produce in the U.S. and the number continues to increase as the industry introduces new packaging materials and concepts. Although the industry generally agrees that container standardization is one way to reduce cost, the trend in recent years has moved toward a wider range of package sizes to accommodate the diverse needs of wholesalers, consumers, food service buyers, and processing operations.

Packing and packaging materials contribute a significant cost to the produce industry; therefore it is important that packers, shippers, buyers, and consumers have a clear understanding of the wide range of packaging options available. This fact sheet describes some of the many types of packaging, including their functions, uses, and limitations. Also included is a listing, by commodity, of the common produce containers standard to the industry.

Authors: 
M. D. Boyette
Authors: 
D. C. Sanders
Authors: 
G. A. Rutledge
Publisher: 
NC Cooperative Extension
Year: 
1996