PRIMARY producers may have embraced the opening of Oji Fibre Solution's state of the art packaging manufacturing plant for increasing competition to the market, but they have also worked collaboratively with the company to create many firsts in fruit and vegetable packaging.
When Oji Fibre Solutions (OjiFS) opened its Yatala plant in South East Queensland in February 2018, they identified the horticultural sector as a major market for its high performance products for local and export segments.
Queensland state sales manager, Jason Cairns-Lawrence, said before the year was out tomato, zucchini and banana farmers had worked together with OjiFS to create boxes that were fast driving industry standards.
"We're about long-term co-operative partnerships: adding value to the growers and agents to ensure packaging plays a significant part in maximising the crop value at market for both domestic and exports," Mr Cairns-Lawrence said.
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"Our PowerPly creates exceptional box strength with cartons now widely available thanks to collaboration with local primary producers.
"For example Tweed Brunswick District banana growers worked to create a world first banana carton which enhances the storage and transportation of bananas.
"The solid one-piece bottom is like many of the north Queensland boxes, but can be assembled by hand without carton erecting machines: it's had great uptake in the local industry because it's stronger than anything previously used.
"Our PowerPly cartons are also strong enough, that in a variety of packing situations, they can replace wax cartons for a range of crops including table grapes, citrus, salad and avocados, so this is a boon for producers exporting to markets that are phasing out waxed boxes.
"The horticulture industry is a substantial user of corrugated cardboard. High compression strength and moisture resistance is essential to protect fruit and vegetable produce from damage due to crushing in stacks in chillers, cold stores and freight containers.
"If producers have an A-grade product and it arrives to market spoiled and B-grade then they don't get the full price of their goods.
"When you think about bananas or avocados travelling to markets in Melbourne from Queensland or Northern NSW: they have to arrive as fresh as possible with cartons being able to sustain everything from transport to climate conditions like humidity.
"OjiFS high performance Kraft and innovative flute combinations liner/medium is well suited for produce and the varying conditions in transporting to market.
"The Yatala plant is producing specialty cardboard with patented designs with optimised strength capacity.
"We are taking packaging to a new playing field. Our strength comes from New Zealand's plantation-grown (FSC) softwood pinus radiata, the basis of our world class products and one of the strongest fibres in the world.
"Retailers will often reject an entire pallet if they see two or three boxes compromised. The bottom boxes carry the weight of more than 100kg so the corners need to be strong enough not to buckle, but also restrict side wall bulge."
- Copy supplied by Oji Fibre Solutions.