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Which Produce Packaging Is Right for You?

September 23, 2022
Posted in Blog
September 23, 2022 David Morgan

So, you’re looking for the right packaging for your produce. There are several options out there for you but need to find the right packaging that will protect your produce from contamination and damage, extend your shelf life and enhance your brand while creating shelf appeal.

Here are some pointers to help you get your fresh or frozen produce into the right package.

5 Common Types of Produce Packaging

1) Plastic Bags

produce plastic bag

Plastic, or poly, bags are the most common package for produce. Sold in premade pouches or on a roll of film, these bags are typically more affordable than other packaging options. Most fruit and vegetables can be bagged, but other packaging types might be better suited for soft produce that can be easily crushed.


2) Clamshells

produce clamshell

A common type of packaging for many types of fruits and vegetables from tomatoes and herbs to blueberries and grapes. Ideal for product protection and visibility, the flat surfaces are perfect for brand labels. Most clamshells are recyclable and there are now compostable clamshells available, but they can be more expensive and limit product visibility.

“A shopper can hold up a clamshell of raspberries and examine whether the ones on the bottom look as good as those on the top.”from Produce Blueprints

3) Paper Bags

produce paper bag

While paper bags offer great branding opportunities and are recyclable and biodegradable, they are not airtight and do not offer consumers a view of the product. They are versatile and best suited for produce that does not require refrigeration such as apples and potatoes. They will not protect your product from bruising or crushing and are best used in manual bagging systems.

4) Trays

produce trayAvailable in foam, plastic or cardboard materials, produce trays come in a variety of sizes to accommodate smaller sliced mushrooms up to large whole melons. While the small trays can be wrapped or sealed to hold freshness, the larger trays are typically left unsealed to accommodate bulk quantities of produce. Either version offers unique branding opportunities and product visibility.

5) Boxes

produce boxMost of the larger cardboard boxes for produce are used to package and ship smaller trays or to hold bulk quantities of produce. Available in a wide variety of sizes with and without lids as well as with flaps and handles produce boxes can be further customized with wax or plastic lining or can be vented on the bottom and/or sides. From deep boxes for pineapples to shallow boxes for onions, you see these doing double-duty as displays in your local grocery stores and wholesale clubs.

Branded Packaging Options

There is intense competition for shelf space at the retail and wholesale levels. Bags, boxes, trays and clamshells can help you stand out, but they all have their own unique characteristics. You need to maximize the branding potential of each type of material.

Clamshells will be limited to the flat sides and a wraparound band while larger trays and boxes provide more space where you can affix labels, or better yet, order preprinted corrugate with your logo and message. Smaller trays will be limited by the available space but can be overwrapped and labels affixed.

Bags may offer the most branding options since both premade pouches and rollstock can be fully customized with unique designs that can help you stand out from the competition.

Filling & Packing Your Produce

The packaging types mentioned here can all be filled manually, but the automation of produce packaging allows for consistent, repeatable filling, sealing and packing that can reduce product waste, increase production rates and decrease liability costs. And don’t forget about the new branding opportunities you can realize with packaging machine automation. The return on investment can be as little as a few months and you get the added benefit of a shorter time to market.

At Paxiom, we have over 30 years of experience designing, engineering and building a wide range of automated packaging machines specifically designed for packaging fruits and vegetables.

From the initial weigh filling of your product to the final case packing and palletizing steps prior to shipping, we can provide the automated solutions you need. We can help you flow wrap your whole produce, fill your sliced produce into trays, bag your fresh and frozen produce into premade pouches or form your own bags with our vertical form, fill and seal machines.

Let’s discuss your options. One of our specialists can consult with you, evaluate your current packaging processes and then provide multiple solutions to help you become more efficient. Contact Us Online or by calling 1-833-4PAXIOM.

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