What makes corrugated cardboard the best choice for grocery shelves?

Corrugated cardboard box used for grocery shelves

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing packaging for grocery items. Will this box be easy to stock? Will it be eye-catching in-store? And, most importantly, will it keep food fresh and safe to consume?

We have some good news – corrugated cardboard packaging is a great choice for all of these concerns. Here’s a rundown of the 5 main reasons we believe corrugated cardboard packaging is the best option for grocery shelves.

1. Corrugated trays can keep fruit fresher

In a study at the University of Bologna [1], researchers compared the shelf life of fruit for reusable plastic containers (RPC) and corrugated packaging. For research purposes, they deliberately contaminated the containers and trays then tested their safety with fruit. Their results were clear; the corrugated cardboard was able to keep the fruit fresh for 48-72 hours longer than the RPCs. This means that the shelf-life of fruit in corrugated cardboard is up to 3 days longer than plastic.

Corrugated trays also prevented cross-contamination from spoiled fruit. In the RPCs up to 95% of the fruit became contaminated over time, while in the carboard trays only 25% did. These results help us understand that if contamination should occur, fruit packaged in a corrugated tray will reach consumers fresher and safer than those stored in plastic.

2. Corrugated boxes enter the food chain already clean

A separate study, sponsored by the Corrugated Packaging Alliance [2], sought to confirm the long-held belief that corrugated manufacturing processes eliminate bacteria. They knew that the process of bonding layers of paper into corrugated materials required high temperatures – up to 90 degrees Celsius. At temperatures this high, most bacteria simply won’t survive. This study provides scientific evidence to back up a claim the industry has long-made; that corrugated cardboard packaging is clean and safe. It is highly unlikely, due to the manufacturing process, that corrugated packaging will introduce bacteria into your food chain.

3. Cardboard is single-use but still sustainable

One of the reasons that RPCs are popular is that they are reusable. However, it is this reuse that can cause them to harbour bacteria. Even though containers are cleaned and sanitised between uses, the quality of this sanitisation can make a huge difference.

Comparatively, with brand new cardboard packaging – you know this will be its first use. In most situations, a single-use product will not be eco-friendly. But, this is not the case with cardboard. Because the materials are 100% recyclable at the end of their life, they are in fact reusable. They just wouldn’t be used again before being remanufactured. We spoke about how Echo Cartons repurpose our cardboard offcuts in a blog on the circular economy.

4. It’s easy to show off your brand on printed cardboard

Not all packaging makes it to the shelf, but for any that does, you want your brand to stand out. You want your boxes to grab the attention of consumers in a crowded grocery aisle. With quality printing and custom design options; Echo Cartons can help your packaging hero your brand.

5. It’s efficient to stock shelves with SRP

Every major retailer has specifications for packaging to reach their shelves. For example, boxes should clearly show your brand so that staff can find them quickly in a storeroom. Another common request is that they are easy to open; to help with fast and efficient stocking. Cardboard boxes can fulfil both these needs and more. With extensive experience in shelf-ready packaging, Echo Cartons can be your trusted partner for grocery store packaging.

Read more about shelf-ready packaging:

High-quality, hygienic cardboard packaging from Echo Cartons

When it comes to fresh food, the packaging you choose should be a top priority. You want your goods to reach the grocery shelves in the best condition possible, and we believe that corrugated cardboard helps you achieve that.

Echo Cartons have extensive experience working with businesses across the entire food industry. Get in touch with our team to hear more about our expertise and get started on your packaging journey.

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