Supply chain collaboration leads to innovative new label solution for IFCO RPCs

written by IFCO SYSTEMS, 11th May 2023, in Success Stories

Collaboration between IFCO, fresh produce growers, DRG Technologies and Avery Dennison has led to an innovative new label solution. This new label offers growers and packers a cost-effective and reliable solution for labeling their IFCO RPCs.

In 2022, IFCO reusable packaging containers (RPCs) were used across more than 2 billion shipments globally, creating substantial environmental savings, efficiencies, and cost benefits for fresh food growers, packers, and retailers along the fresh grocery supply chain. With this growth, challenges emerge, and IFCO works diligently with its customers and industry partners to address them. A current challenge in the supply chain is labeling and label residue on RPCs after use.

After listening to grower customer feedback and working alongside our growers to research the various fruit and vegetable packing processes, IFCO partnered with DRG Technologies to develop a solution. DRG is a respected label solutions provider currently working with many growers in key agricultural areas across the US and Mexico. This partnership, along with material expertise from Avery Dennison, a global leader in labeling materials, enabled the development of a new label solution for IFCO RPCs.

“Our real-world testing showed this label performed as needed for fresh produce growers and packers, removes completely and cleanly during the RPC wash process, and is available at a lower cost.”

Paul Forsythe, Program Director at DRG Technologies

"DRG welcomed the opportunity to partner with IFCO in pursuing our shared goal of continuous RPC label improvements. Over the years, we’ve introduced multiple label solutions, and each iteration has improved functionality and cost. This new label solution continues that trend," said Paul Forsythe, Program Director at DRG Technologies."

This innovative new label is designed to provide a reliable and cost-effective solution that does not peel off during use and is ideal for low-moisture harvest, packing, storage, and transport environments. It is designed with grower operations in mind and can be used with existing label equipment, making it an easy switch. After use, in RPC wash testing at IFCO service centers, this new label had a 100% wash-off rate leading to improved RPC quality.

Not only is the label from Avery Dennison more cost-effective than existing RPC film labels, but it also provides improved product quality and reliability. This means that fresh produce growers can rely on their labels remaining in place during packing and transport, and also removing easily during the wash process.

"It’s great to see industry experts like IFCO and DRG come together to help solve industry challenges like this, and Domex Superfresh Growers was happy to be a testing partner. For us, this new label is a clear winner," said Tyler Weinbender, Director of Sustainability and Packaging at Domex Superfresh Growers.

Before this new label solution was released, it was tested at all stages, from harvest through storage and transport. This included real-world testing with grower partners for durability in field pack heat and cold storage temperatures, as well as across packing processes for multiple fresh produce commodities. After testing multiple variations of adhesives and substrates, a successful combination was found, providing confidence that this new label solution will stand up to real-world use.

"This new label solution shows we take feedback from our customers very seriously at IFCO. Our team will work hand-in-hand with our customers to understand their process, and work with industry experts to develop the solutions our customers need," said Skip Miller, Senior Director of Quality and Safety at IFCO.

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