Pacific AgPak Inc. in Watsonville, CA, which specializes in clear plastic clamshells and other plastic consumer packaging for berries and other produce commodities, has recently released a new strawberry clamshell which it calls the Freight Buster clam.
The reason for the name, explained President Dave Baum, is "because of the capability of increasing the cube ... on the truck by 33 percent. We think it is a win-win for the grower and retailer alike," since it increases the grower's sales and at the same time helps retailers "lower their freight costs" by one-third.
The new clam holds one pound of strawberries, packed in a single layer, which means "you can virtually see every strawberry" in the pack, he said. That displays the fruit nicely for the consumer, and it is also "a good quality- control factor because it is easier for the growers to check their quality as they pack."
In addition, "we think that it probably helps with better arrivals to the destination" because the berries in the single-layer pack "are not riding on top of each other."
In summary, "you get better-quality produce, a better retail display and higher efficiencies for the cube on the truck," he said.
The clamshell can "work for a long-stem pack as well, he noted.
The new Freight Buster clamshells are packed eight per box in "the new eight-down box that most people have been using," Mr. Baum said. It stacks "152 boxes per pallet," compared to 108 boxes with "the standard clamshell."
The box can also accommodate two- and four-pound clamshells as well as the traditional one-pint green mesh baskets.
"We have eight-ounce clamshells for that box as well," he added. "We are going to be featuring the Freight Buster clamshell" at the company's booth at the Produce Marketing Association exhibition in Atlanta in October, Mr. Baum said.
Also on exhibit at the show will be a new Freight Buster till for mushrooms. The till fits in the same box currently used by the mushroom industry and will also allow a one-third increase in the amount of product that can be stacked on a pallet or loaded on a truck.
The till, an open-top tub made of recyclable PET plastic, is "an effort to replace the environmentally incorrect packaging presently being used in the industry and "offer a recyclable solution to mushroom growers."