In our first edition of InZpire, you could read an article about innovative packaging. What’s happened since then?
Two promising packaging materials
Andries Zwager, Packaging Coordinator and Buyer of all sorts of packaging material reports: ‘We have now reached the stage that we’re going to hold trials with two promising new packaging materials this month: the cardboard Octabin containers and an improved big bag that has an added ventilation capacity of 66%.’ Ventilation is very important to maintain the quality of the potatoes. An important function of packaging is that it protects the product against damage and disease during storage and transport. ‘But, naturally, we also look at efficiency and cost-saving', Andries Zwager continues. ‘An Octabin container holds 30 kilos, for example, while the big bag holds 1250 kilos. Our machinery is currently set to fill big bags, which is therefore an important advantage of this type of packaging. On the other hand, the Octabin offers other follow-up applications and options for use, which we also have to consider.
The selected packaging types were thoroughly trialled. Andries Zwager: ‘Something may look wonderful on paper, but may not be so great in practice. That’s why we hold trials. We also define detailed standards which the packaging must meet. This month, we'll be sending shipments in both new (Octabin and the improved big bag) and existing packaging (jute and regular big bags) to a customer in Italy and to two customers in Portugal and we'll do something similar at ZOS, our storage and grading company in Emmeloord’. This last control lot will be left untouched until March. We’ll then visit the four locations to systematically evaluate the results. We’ll compare the quality, the costs and the efficiency of the new packaging with the traditional packaging and set the results against the standards.’
“We have now reached the stage that we’re going to hold trials.”
We want to be certain that the packaging is good.
There's a great deal of interest among our customers for the innovative packaging that we are now is testing. This became apparent during the Potato Days, which HZPC organised on 6 and 7 November of last year. ‘One Spanish customer wanted to start using it straightaway’, Andries Zwager said. ‘But it’s still a bit too early. First the trials, then we’ll know for certain whether it’s good or not.’
HZPC and packaging innovation
At HZPC, we’re convinced that packaging offers interesting possibilities to improve quality, to save transaction costs, and to create new opportunities in the domain of marketing and reuse/recycling. In our opinion, the search for improved packaging is a continuing process, whereby we follow new developments closely, but also want to test them extensively before we start making recommendations. When the time is ripe, we’ll share the test results with our customers and we’ll offer them the new and improved service.