For Perishables: RPCs
Today's Way To Save
Today's Way To Sell
RPCs & Food Safety
Retailers of all sizes are looking for ways to build shopper loyalty and enhance the in-store experience while optimizing their supply chains to stay competitive and minimize their environmental impact. From farm to point of sale, Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) are the modern, future-focused way to move perishables efficiently, effectively, and sustainably. Create competitive advantage now and for the future by making the switch to RPCs.
Hover on the icons below to learn more about RPCs.
The smart design and robust construction of RPCs help protect against product damage in transit, storage, replenishment, and at point of sale – even in high moisture and high humidity environments. Strong material, interlock stacking, and secure-lock walls also ensure structural integrity and pallet load stability.
RPCs are ventilated for optimal airflow, cooling perishables faster and keeping them at optimal temperature from farm to sales floor. This extends quality, appearance, and shelf life, increasing retail sales and reducing shrink.
RPCs are designed for display, too. Retailers can save time and labor by moving crates straight from the truck to the sales floor. On display, quality, color, and freshness “pop” against the RPC backdrop, stimulating impulse purchases and incremental sales.
RPCs reduce cost from start to finish through reuse, waste reduction, standardized footprints, unit load utilization, one-touch replenishment, order optimization, easy folding and stacking, improved worker safety, and more.
Every RPC is inspected, repaired if necessary, and expertly washed, rinsed, sanitized, and dried after each commercial use. This ensures suppliers receive food-safe, fresh, clean, ready-to-pack crates with every order.
RPCs are designed for continuous use and composed of recyclable materials that can be recovered, refurbished or re-manufactured. With RPCs, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption are reduced. Waste is prevented, not managed.
Fresh, vibrant, unblemished, delicious-looking produce sells. RPCs help to protect produce quality from field to store and to showcase it in your department.
RPCs for produce provide:
1 Source: IFCO airflow testing at University of Florida in collaboration with grower and independent (Sensitech) studies during commercial trials; comparison vs. corrugated packaging
2 Source: IFCO, Polymer Logistics & Tosca as measured with retail partners
3 Source: IFCO one-touch studies and freshIMPACT study
4 Source: Global Shopper Produce Display Preferences Survey of 2000 people in 10 countries, by Brandcheck, 2016
Eggs are the most fragile of all perishable goods and highly vulnerable to temperature spoilage. They need packaging that gets and keeps them cool while protecting them during transit, storage, and stocking. Faster cooling means fresher, higher quality eggs with extended shelf life and less likelihood of carrying or promoting the growth of illness-causing bacteria.
RPCs for eggs provide:
1Source: IFCO & Tosca as measured with retail partners
2Source: Tosca Egg RPC Cooling Assessment completed by Sensitech, April 2014; comparison vs. corrugated packaging
To hit the shelves at their eye-catching best, case-ready protein and poultry retail packs need to fit securely in their transport packaging to prevent tray or wrap damage, and to remain at the right temperature from processor to store.
RPCs for meat provide:
1Source: IFCO, Polymer Logistics & Tosca as measured with retail partners
2Source: Tosca stocking analysis
As retailers, suppliers, and distributors try to balance the demands of efficiency, opportunity, and sustainability, there is a necessary shift from a linear to a circular supply chain, in which systems design out waste, extend material use and value, and regenerate to conserve natural resources. Reuse is the true circular solution.
RPCs are at the center of a reusable supply chain, and the extended useful life of RPCs created by multiple uses, reparability, and recyclability for remanufacturing maximizes product performance, utility and value. This not only benefits the environment but creates efficiencies throughout the RPC supply chain cycle.
Hover on the icons below to learn more about how the reusable supply chain works.
Suppliers Receive & Pack RPCs
Growers, producers, and processors receive clean, sanitized, dried, and ready-to-pack RPCs. Product is packed, pallets are built, trucks are loaded and dispatched.
RPCs Washed & Sanitized
Before and after each use, every RPC is inspected, repaired if necessary, and expertly washed, rinsed, sanitized, and dried in accordance with science-based industry best practices and international food safety standards. Clean crates are palletized and wrapped to ensure suppliers receive food- safe, fresh, clean, ready-to-pack crates with every order.
Loads Arrive at DC; Pick & Pack Store Orders
Standardized footprints, rigid construction, and secure-lock walls protect the product while ensuring load stability and structural integrity during transit and storage. Receiving, slotting, order-picking and loading require less handling. Waste and clean-up time due to box failures and damaged product is eliminated. Pallets, RPCs, and products stay clean and orderly, making receiving, slotting, order-picking and loading easier, faster, and less labor-intensive.
RPCs Returned to Service Centers
Empty RPCs are quickly and easily folded, stacked on pallets, and collected for return to nearby Reverse Logistics Centers. RLCs and pooler service centers are strategically located across the country to minimize transportation cost and environmental impact. Here, they are sorted, cleaned, maintained, and stored until their next journey.
Stores Receive, Display & Sell
RPCs are designed for both transport and display. Retailers can save time and labor by moving crates straight from the truck to the sales floor. Ergonomic design facilitates handling. RPCs are unaffected by moisture, provide temperature control, maximize backroom storage space, and product is easy to identify. On the sales floor, product is hero, stimulating impulse purchases and incremental sales.
There are a number of RPA member companies who supply RPCs and manage all aspects of RPC logistics: pooled container asset management, inventory tracking, reverse logistics, repair, sanitization, storage, transportation, and retail execution. They work across the supply chain to design and implement customized programs to make the transition to RPCs seamless, efficient, and effective.
End-to-end, utilizing RPCs results in a lower cost and less wasteful supply chain that delivers savings directly to the bottom line while reducing environmental impact. It gives you the best of both worlds in upholding fiscal and environmental performance in your operations.
Less time handling product from DC to retail display. Less time spent breaking down boxes and managing waste. Ergonomic design, elimination of box cutters, and shelf-ready display improve worker safety. It all adds up to a labor reduction of up to 20% 1 with RPCs. And that means more time out on the sales floor helping shoppers.
One RPC can be reused over 100 times through continuous use in a supply chain. 2
RPCs have proven to reduce retail shrink by up to 50% on eggs, produce, and case-ready meat. 3
RPCs require 80% less water and demand 64% less energy than single-use alternatives in comparative life-cycle analysis. 2
1 Source: IFCO one-touch studies and freshIMPACT study; Tosca Stocking Analysis
2 Source: Comparative life-cycle assessment of reusable plastic containers and display- and nondisplay-ready corrugated containers used for fresh produce applications, Franklin Associates, 2017
3 Source: IFCO, Polymer Logistics & Tosca as measured with retail partners
The competitive retail landscape demands a superior in-store experience. Consumers have more shopping choices than ever before, including online alternatives. RPCs help you deliver quality throughout the shopping experience – both in sleek, eye-catching display and product freshness. They keep perishables moving…across the supply chain and in the store. What they see is what you get, which keeps customers coming back and spending more.
Product appearance is everything, and 50% of shoppers report that produce displayed in RPCs appears fresher and higher quality. In addition, 45% said they’d pay more for produce displayed in RPCs. 1
Designed for both transport and display, RPCs fit any store décor and are an instant way to enhance overall in-store appearance and the shopping experience. Color and freshness “pop” against the RPC backdrop. Research among produce shoppers finds that 55% prefer to shop from RPCs, describing them as clean, neat, organized, and fresh. By showcasing the product, RPCs contribute to impulse purchases and incremental sales. 1
Product protection through the supply chain, enhanced airflow for freshness, and ease of display and replenishment mean you can keep your shelves fully stocked with superior quality product all day, every day. And that keeps shoppers happy and coming back for more.
1Source: Shopper Produce Display Preferences Survey of 2000 people in 10 countries, by Brandcheck, 2016
Globally, billions of RPCs are used each year to transport fresh and nutritious foods safely from farm to table. Before and after each commercial use, every RPC is inspected, repaired if necessary, and expertly washed, rinsed, sanitized, and dried in accordance with science-based industry best practices and international food safety standards that are proven to clean the container for safe use again. This ensures suppliers receive fresh, clean, ready-to-pack crates with every order.
The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) and its member companies who supply and use reusable packaging products take matters pertaining to food safety very seriously. The RPA works to educate the industry on best practices to ensure that the longstanding history of safe use of reusable packaging is not only maintained but strengthened. Even with history and current practices validating safe use, suppliers of reusable packaging for fresh foods work continuously to strengthen measures and deploy advanced systems to ensure the sanitation of their products prior to reuse.
In 2015, much of the RPA work on RPC food safety culminated into the publishing of a document – “RPA Guidelines & Best Practices for Safe Use of Returnable Containers in Food Supply Chains” – to advance the industry’s awareness and compliance to the highest standards for the cleaning, sanitation and proper handling of reusable packaging.