This increase in consumers and turn toward healthy eating poses both opportunities and challenges for produce companies. On the one hand, demand is up for healthy foods. The fresh vegetables market alone reached $751 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow by 7.19% annually until 2028.
On the other hand, fresh produce has a shorter shelf life than other food items, and brands are limited as to the regions where they can grow it.
Since this means products can be weeks old before reaching the consumer, packaging that preserves freshness will be more important than ever. If you produce fresh fruits and vegetables, here’s what to consider as you navigate packaging for a growing market.
Challenges in Produce Packaging
Shelf Quality / Freshness
Shelf life—or more accurately, shelf quality—is the number one challenge in packaging produce. Because they are living organisms, fruits and vegetables require unique packaging solutions that preserve the environment they need to stay fresh. In other words, they need to “breathe,” having the right amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the container.
Packagers have traditionally addressed this challenge with clamshell packaging with openings or perforated lids. However, these solutions can be inconsistent and lead to product degradation once consumers open the package.
It’s no secret that consumers are becoming increasingly averse to our reliance on plastic, and the fresh produce category is no exception. In fact, consumers of fresh produce are sometimes more skeptical of the need for plastic, lacking awareness of its functional benefits.
However, consumer lifestyles dictate the need for plastic packaging, particularly in the produce sector—plastic is highly effective in protecting the product and preserving freshness without driving up prices. This double bind creates pressure to reduce packaging materials while ensuring freshness, which can be difficult to accomplish with traditional produce packaging.
Warehousing and Logistics
Clamshell packaging and rigid containers take up a significant amount of space in warehouses, creating additional costs for brands. With no viable alternatives, brands have no choice but to invest in warehouse space and logistics costs.
Try Sealutions™ for Produce
Produce harvest, processing and packaging can be difficult to navigate due to unpredictable seasons, shelf life and other factors. With a focus on speed, service and innovation, Belmark can help you tackle these challenges while improving your business. We offer packaging solutions with no order minimums, on the timeline you need it, adapting to your needs as they arise. If you want to learn more about Sealutions™ lidding film for fresh fruits and vegetables, contact the Belmark team to learn how Sealutions™ can benefit your brand and consumer.