StePac’s Automated Modified Atmosphere Packaging Solutions for Bulk and Retail Cherries Help Reduce Labor Shortages
TEFEN, Israel, February 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — StePac Ltd.’s lean and automated modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) solutions. China cherry export season ahead of the recent Chinese New Year celebrations. New packaging formats have proven to be instrumental in helping packers move from manual to faster and more efficient automated processes to counter recent labor shortage hurdles.
In response to the boom in cherry exports from Chile for China and the rest of AsiaChilean packers turn to StePac’s novel, lean Xflow™ proprietary films with properties specifically designed for automated bulk packaging and long-term storage and shipping of cherries. The packers proclaim Xflow significantly reduced reliance on labor and improved food safety by minimizing handling during the packaging process. Beyond increased operational efficiencies, packaging represents a dramatic reduction in plastic packaging and stakeholders reap the benefits of MAP technology, including product shelf life extension, reducing food waste and reducing shipping costs associated with ocean freight.
Fresh produce packaging innovators worked with Chilean distributor Empack to diversify its bulk and retail packaging portfolio to meet the ever-changing logistical needs of this high-demand fruit and preserve all of its freshness, its flavor and nutritional value throughout the journey. from Chile to Chinese consumers which can last 35 days.
The versatile film is particularly suitable for 2.5 kg and 5 kg packaging and adapts easily to automatic fillers and packaging lines, allowing reduced handling and therefore much less labour. The thin film also effectively reduces plastic consumption by up to 40%. This product has been successfully used by more than a dozen cherry exporters during the 2021/22 Chilean cherry season.
“The exponential growth of cherry exports, coupled with significant labor shortages, has created major challenges for Chilean cherry packing companies, calling for more sophisticated packing operations to adapt to both the increased volume and the short, intensive cherry packing season,” explains Gary WardPh.D., business development manager for StePac.
With over 44,000 hectares (nearly 110,000 acres) of land dedicated to cherry growing producing over 300K tons of annual cherry exports, Chile is the world’s largest exporter of cherries and is on the path to further growth year on year. More than 95% of the cherries grown in Chile are exported to the Far East, mainly China, with the bulk of shipments expected to arrive in time for the Chinese New Year. Cherries are considered an ideal gift for Chinese New Year, as their red color and round shape represent fortune, prosperity and eternity in Chinese tradition.
Meanwhile in China, StePac’s xgo™ Resealable film sealer/sealer has been making waves in the e-commerce and retail sectors since the last Chilean cherry season. “This attractive and functional retail packaging solution was designed to bring the value of StePac’s MAP technology to the consumer and has been enthusiastically embraced by our customers in China“, enthuses Guillermo Perez, category manager for Empack. “We are currently supplying 20 Chilean exporters with cherry punnets sealed with custom printed lidding films that contain smaller volumes of cherries from 500g to 2kg for the Chinese retail sector.
Xgo’s The advanced, lightweight top seal is infused with StePac’s MAP life-extending properties. This preservation activity is regenerated each time the label is closed, making it ideal for multiple servings of cherries. The films can also be easily integrated into automated cherry packaging lines and avoid repackaging in China.
“Both new products have received excellent feedback from our Chilean partners. They have reported a reduction of up to 50% in labor costs associated with sealing, while customers of China welcomed the improved customer experience due to the new lidding film,” adds Ward. “We have found a strong partner in Empack, who have invested heavily in flowpack and topseal machines to propel the smooth transition to automation and to support customers who don’t have their own. Based on these unqualified successes, we are watching the Northern Hemisphere cherry market and expecting our products to be widely adopted there in the coming season. »
StePac’s full range of advanced MAP products will be showcased at the upcoming Fruit Logistica 2022 in Berlin, April 5-7.
M/s. Hila Nagel
M/s. Liat Simha