Food hygiene concerns shift pallet purchasing trends as food manufacturers choose plastic
With a wider choice than ever in produce pallets, the move away from those produced from wood and towards plastic pallets is most evident. But what advantages can plastic pallets offer over their wooden counterparts?
They are certainly a cleaner, safer and more robust alternative, with some of the following qualities:
• More Hygienic – plastic pallets are made to be water-resistant and allow for high-pressure cleaning in between uses, minimising the risk of infestation, odour, dust, or mould growth.
• More Durable and Flexible – the optimal loading capabilities of plastic pallets keeps fresh produce well protected and economises storage space and transportation far better than its wood equivalent.
• More Economical – under standard handling and loading conditions, the typical lifespan of the plastic pallet is estimated at 10 years; significantly longer than a wood pallet. While the initial cost might be higher, the return on this investment throughout the plastic pallet’s working life is greater.
• Safer – Being free from nails and jagged edges, the risks of handling injuries along the supply chain with a plastic pallet are greatly reduced.
• Greener – while wooden pallets pose a threat to forestry, plastic pallets, which are frequently made from recyclable materials, clearly are a more sustainable option.
With its low cost per unit, our CleanPal pallet was designed with these potential benefits over a wooden pallet alternative in mind.
Produced from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), CleanPal is washable and, therefore more hygienic. With the constant threat of harmful foodborne pathogens being a major concern in food logistics, food manufacturers do not want to use wood pallets. We have found that plastic pallets, such as CleanPal, are becoming their go-to option. As CleanPal is resistant to moisture, weak acids and alkalis, it is suitable for use in other industries that depend on contaminant-free transportation too, including the pharmaceuticals industry.
CleanPal’s innovative, nestable capability means that our plastic pallets can fit neatly inside one another for increased stackability. We found that this is important in space-limited retail environments as well as being beneficial for both the efficient transportation and return of empty pallets. In fact, up to 3 times more pallets can be accommodated on one lorry load compared with a wood pallet equivalent. The lower transport effort per unit makes for substantial reductions in fuel cost and a lower carbon footprint too!
What’s more, the CleanPal deck features marked moulded locations with recessed grooves so that it can lock in place the crates that are being transported. The improved stability of crates when placed on the plastic pallet CleanPal means that all contents remain well-protected whilst in transit. Designed to be compatible with our Polynest line of stackable crates for food products, this is a key feature for food manufacturers aiming to eliminate damage to spoilable, fresh produce on its way to stores.
Produced with large strength to density ratio, plastic pallets are overall less susceptible to degradation over time and at half the weight of a wood equivalent, it is possible to be lifted by just one person. We have found that the production of CleanPal at a consistent dimension of 1200 x 1000 x 162mm (ensured by the fact that they are manufactured in highly polished moulds) is also appealing to those that need to account for precise loading calculations.
Intrigued and swayed to try a switch towards a cleaner and cost-effective alternative for fresh produce transportation too?
For further information on the CleanPal, please visit: http://www.polymerlogistics.com/product-solutions/nestable-pallet2/ or call +44 (0) 845 200 0001
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The concept of the field to fork philosophy is a common practice with many of the modern day suppliers of groceries to the general public. The fundamentals of this practice look at continuing the idea of fresh and wholesome products, that have the impression of freshly picked, dug up or packaged much like locally sourced items had back in the 1920s.
The idea of a milk man with the clink of bottles heard from yards away, the fish monger arriving on his push bike with a wicker basket full with plaice and ice. The butchers cart laden with all the cuts, from cheap to pricey, prime to offcuts, all delivered to your door, in unique vehicles designed with the care and love only a sole trader could have. The idea is that a product will at every stage still continue to be perceived as freshly picked, plucked, or de-podded, and maintain that perception through the use of packaging, delivery vehicles, and containers.
Although those days are long behind us, and with the customer now doing the majority of legwork, a recent resurgence in food delivery services has shown itself to be the next bastion in the supermarket wars.
Touching on the specific dedication that 1920s era grocers had towards the look and feel of their service, many of the current suppliers of retail ready FMCG, have carved out a detail design on every small aspect of branding throughout the retail chain. From Ads to trolleys, products to staff uniforms, all of these are designed for one purpose, to build a perception in the mind of the customer that this is a professional outfit who can be trusted. However, with ever expanding competition at the top, differentiation is now becoming key to cut through the noise.
As one major chain has adapted to one USP they wish to be known for, another has used another. Each top chain now has there own brand and that brand has its own idea of how it wishes to be perceived.
Yet, one of the last areas that has not employed the required philosophy, to stay ahead in this competitive game, is the final delivery perception.
The delivery is currently ordered buy the customer for a specific time, and essentially they invite the brand into their home to drop of the goods that they repeat purchase each week. You would expect this part of the journey to be well defined. A perfect example of how a brand can make the right impression by the equipment, attire, and appearance in which they interact with that customer could develop a loyal trusting customer to that modern day grosser.
Although the speed and levels of cost saving they wish to achieve somehow negates that, this is one aspect that could provide a way of cutting them far and above the competition.
With the smallest of changes to the overall end user experience, a large return on investment could be seen. Although the investment in ‘vintage’ looking, yet robust crates could increase the cost at base level, the creation and increase of brand image can result in a long standing partnership between customer and supplier.
Many of the customers who use the online shopping services, do so for the convenience of delivery, and with that comes the lack of need to step foot in the traditional supermarkets. This could provide a situation where the only exposure, out side of the well-scripted and designed adverts, they have is at the point of contact between delivery driver and user. This is where streamlining of the brand and philosophy of the company needs to show through. With the addition of a well-crafted delivery van, a well-structured uniform, and high quality containers, that are so prominent to the end user, a true understanding of the company’s ideals and image can be portrayed. Only then will the loyalty of the customer be tested in the supermarket wars.
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Polymer Logistics next generation of produce pallets has just been launched and is set to challenge its wooden pallet rival head on. Targeted to be a real alternative to wood, Polymer Logistics have engineered the new pallet to deliver not only flexibility in load carrying and space saving but also cost savings in the supply chain.
Manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is well known for its large strength to density ratio, the Produce Pallet is tough enough to cope with the rigours of the supply chain such as mishandling. As it is manufactured from HDPE, the Produce Pallet is washable thus making it more hygienic than the wood alternative and is also suitable for use across a variety of other industries including the pharmaceutical industry.
Available in 1200x1000x162, the Produce Pallet really comes into its own when it comes to nesting capabilities. Essentially the produce pallets fit inside each other thus they are nestable. This means that more can be stacked in one space compared to the wood equivalent, which sit upon each other rather than in. This is vital in today’s backroom space limited retail environments.
When it comes to the return of empty produce pallets the nestable feature again has a significant benefit. As retailers seek to reduce transport costs due to the price of fuel, it’s essential that the space inside the lorry be optimised. In reality the more that can be accommodated on one load the lower the fuel costs. It’s possible to accommodate up to 3 times more produce pallets on one lorry compared to the wood alternative. This delivers that much needed saving in fuel costs.
The new pallet deck features marked moulded locations with recessed grooves for Maxinest produce crates. This helps with the stability of the load when stacked, thus reducing damages and spoilt costs! What’s more the new pallet is half the weight of the wood equivalent thus enabling just one person to lift. This helps with reducing work related injuries. For further information on the new produce pallet please click here or call +44 (0)845 200 0001
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Following on from the successful launch of our new Market Place crate, which is designed for retail stores that want to give that market fresh impression, it has already undergone successful pilot trials with a market-leading retailer. The response we have seen from our customers has been amazing and in turn where it has been piloted, sales of fresh produce in store have risen.
Feedback from retailers has included “this is the greatest invention within the field of RPC of the last 20 years” and there can be no doubt that when retailers see for themselves they will see how this new crate can transform the look of fresh produce aisles and will be 100% convinced of the difference it can make. In surveys that were completed during the pilot more than 86% of customers preferred the Market Place crate compared to the industrial RPC.
Already nominated for a number of major industry awards, the Market Place crate continues to make a big impression at exhibitions all over the world and will be showcased again at the United Fresh Show Chicago in June this year.
We are that confident in the crates’ ability to improve customer experience that we have issued a challenge to retailers worldwide. In essence retailers are challenged to send in images of fresh produce aisles as they are now and in response, using digital technology, we will replicate how they could look using the new Market Place crate.
For customers who want to take up this challenge simply take your images and send into . We will be in touch with a representation of the future for customers’ fresh produce aisles.
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Under pinning its commitment to innovation within the field of retail ready packaging Polymer Logistics has launched the world’s first Market Place crate. Perfect for stores who want to give that market fresh impression, the new wood effect crate is set to revolutionise the look and feel of fresh produce aisles nationwide.
As more and more retailers are either starting to or are actually upgrading their stores, one area that has been of particular focus has been the fresh produce aisle. Retailers are recognising the fact that the perception of fresh and local can lead to increased sales. Therefore store design and layout has been adapted to reflect this. However whilst there can be no doubt that improvements have been made, the actual crates that hold and display the produce are still look very generic and sterile.
The new Market Place crate from Polymer presents the opportunity for retailers to switch away from non-descript plastic crates and to actually influence buyer perception in terms of the market feel. What’s more for retailers who are actually using real wooden crates the new solution from PL is more sustainable and offers a significant advantage in terms of hygiene. Having made its debut at Fruit Logistica 2014 in Berlin, the new Market Place crate offers robust product protection during transportation and is both foldable and stackable to maximise truck and store space. The crates use the active lock system that enables store colleagues to fold away the crates efficiently using the ergonomic system.
“If retailers truly want to offer their customers that market fresh look then they need to find an alternative to the generic plastic crate that is prevalent in every retail produce aisle,” stated Adrian Dale, Managing Director Polymer Logistics UK. “Here at Polymer we believe that this represents a major breakthrough in terms of store enhancements and are confident that if retailers invest in the Market Place crate they will see a major uplift in sales”.