International packaging company DS Smith has revealed that it has been working in close collaboration with the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) on the introduction of a new Common Footprint Quality (CFQ) standard in the UK.
Trays that are accredited with the new CFQ standard take into consideration both the type of fresh produce being packed in corrugated trays and the distance it must travel.
The Common Footprint (CF) stands for the stackability, and the Quality (Q) confirms the quality and strength of the corrugated cardboard.
If trays bear the mark, growers, packers and retailers can be "confident that the packaging is able to cushion, carry and protect fruit and vegetables throughout their journey", the group explained.
As well as protection, CFQ trays are designed for displaying goods, and with the right print and structural design, the packaging can help increase sales in store; create visual disruption, support promotions and shopper navigation, DS Smith noted.
In addition, the new European-wide CFQ stamp will improve the efficiency of the fresh produce supply chain as it will lead to the standardisation of produce trays, making them easier to stack safely and quickly, even if they have come from different suppliers. This greater ease and simplicity will also improve cross-border compatibility across Europe, the group said.
To earn the accreditation, packaging will be validated both internally and independently to confirm the quality criteria is met.
The strength and durability of trays carrying the CFQ stamp will be rigorously tested to ensure they are fit for purpose and in optimal condition for handling and transportation when they leave the corrugated manufacturer.
“We are proud to be a lead player in the integration of this new quality standard to the UK," said Mick Thornton, sales and marketing director of DS Smith’s UK Packaging Division. "Corrugated packaging is ideally suited to the fresh produce industry as it can offer the cushioning, ventilation, strength, moisture resistance and protection that growers, packers and retailers are looking for. Our customers can have the utmost confidence that their products will arrive safely at their destination and the standardisation of products will bring benefits and efficiencies to the entire supply chain.”