Scoping study to develop a standardised industry banana carton (BA13015)
What was it all about?
This project initially set out to develop a standardised banana carton that would improve product quality through to retail outlets. This followed a number of trials assessing different cartons and returnable plastic crates, carried out by growers, wholesalers, suppliers and retailers, to try to resolve the issue.
The research team set out to consolidate activities and drive further collaboration within the supply chain to achieve swifter change and wider adoption across the banana industry as a whole.
Early on in the project, however, it became apparent that the task at hand was actually much broader and more complex than just cartons.
They extended the scope of the research to consider all the variables associated with banana, packing, packaging and transport, including points along the supply chain that can influence carton performance and therefore the quality of fruit arriving at retail stores.
Researchers began by engaging stakeholders within the banana industry to find out about current practices, what they believed caused fruit damage, and ideas already trialled. Growers, wholesalers, ripeners, hauliers and retailers were included.
They made a review of the literature on the cause of damage to fruit along the supply chain, including international markets which highlighted significant differences in handling and packaging practices.
Building from the study findings, researchers developed minimum packing and packaging specifications to best protect fruit. In addition, they found that a total of eighteen factors affecting the condition of fruit during transport. These included the type of truck used, the stacking configuration, the carton type and weight, the use of stabilisers in the truck and the season.
It was recommended that each factor is subjected to closer scrutiny, including possible costings, to assist growers and others along the supply chain to decide on the relative benefits. They also recommended further development of systems of returnable plastic crates.