ORLANDO, Fla. -- The returnable plastic container industry is seeking retailer and distributor comment on a prototype that it is hoped will jump the primary hurdle keeping RPCs out of the banana category -- their inability to accommodate a volume that's competitive with corrugated cardboard containers.
t PMA's Fresh Summit 2000, retains the industry's standard, approximate measurement of 16 inches by 24 inches, or 40 centimeters by 60 centimeters. The external height of the container measures 23 centimeters. Additionally, the interior of the walls are scalloped to better protect the product in transit and to maximize cube efficiency, said company officials.
The burgeoning RPC industry has maintained a high level of interest in gaining access into banana distribution, in large part because the fruit can account for up to 3% of a supermarket's total-store sales, according to industry statistics.
The real push to develop a banana-compatible RPC came last year, after the International Banana Association, Alexandria, Va., concluded the containers then on the market were inadequate in size, and increased overhead costs when compared with corrugated boxes, the primary box used to transport the fruit. The IBC based its decision on a months-long review of the Voluntary Guidelines for Returnable Containers, released in 1998 by a committee of industry trade associations.
IBA's review of the guidelines determined that using RPCs would cost banana companies an additional $2 for every 40-pound box packed. Based on the estimated 200 million boxes of bananas distributed each year, the extra charge would add $400 million in additional cost to companies per year.