How to pack a box of produce
What's the best way to pack a box of produce? What kind of packaging to use?
Here is the most common way to pack a box, assuming use of a cardboard box:
Uline is a great source for boxes, we recommend a size similar to 14x12x8 for your small box. Experiment with the size, and always try to use the smallest box size possible so that a) the boxes look FULL and pretty, and b) you can fit more of them into a delivery vehicle. Link to Uline Boxes
Want to order some boxes online with your logo on them? Try PackLane.com
When you pack your produce boxes, you want the heavier items on the bottom, and the lighter, more delicate items (like Strawberries) on the top.
Bottom layer (1st)
heavy stuff (potatoes, carrots, cabbage)
Use an apple tray, ripped to fit the length/width of the box. This creations separation and also makes the boxes look nice.
Here is an online source to order small quantities of trays from: https://www.glacierv.com/SPD/-827--insert-trays--purple-pulp--150-pack--80000251-1210879581.jsp
more delicate stuff, strawberries, apricots, mangos, etc.
a piece of brown paper, the packing kind. Kraft Packing Paper Use the size closest to the width/length of your boxes.
Then on the very top,
place the ice pack. Optional, wrap the ice pack in brown paper... this keeps it from ever directly touching the produce, even if the packaging shifts a bit. You can find these on Amazon, or preferably from a local vendor.
You can also use place a bag as a liner in the box and place all of the above in it. This also helps if your drivers have to take the produce out of the box to place it in a cooler.
Why at the top? Cold sinks, heat rises.
NOTE: do not use the kind of ice packs that you have to soak in water, then freeze. They are a mess.
Make your boxes look awesome with custom tape that has your logo or a message on it. Link: http://www.uline.com/CustomStaticKraftTape.htm
UPDATE: Apr 2018, apparently Trellis earth is out of business.
We recommend Trellis Earth old link: http://www.trellisearth.biz/Gallon-Trellis-Trash-Liner-WFB-11/dp/B00F36QKTG?class=quickView&field_availability=-1&field_browse=9501316011&id=Gallon+Trellis+Trash+Liner+WFB-11&ie=UTF8&refinementHistory=subjectbin%2Ccolor_map&searchNodeID=9501316011&searchPage=1&searchRank=title-asc-rank&searchSize=12 for eco-friendly bags (not an affiliate link) if you want to use a liner.
All Fruit Boxes
With all fruit boxes, place an apple tray at the very bottom of the box. Since there are usually less varieties of fruit in an all fruit box, this helps the box look better and prevents the fruit from rolling around as much.
For boxes that do not have that much in them, you can also place the apple tray in the bottom to make the presentation look nicer.
The labels printed from the admin side of the software should be printed on sticky paper, and placed on one of the long top flaps of the box.
The Art of Packing
Produce should always be gently placed in the boxes. Handle each product with care, and try to group items of the same kind together for a nice presentation. Try to think how a customer would view the box when they open it- would it be messy? Does it look disorganized? If a box isn't in perfect condition- recycle it.
Boxes should always be handled with extreme care! Keep them level, do not tilt them ever. If you stack the boxes, stack them at odd angles so the sides do not get crushed. Pick them up and set them down as if the contents were very expensive, very fragile wine glasses.
Find better products or prices?
We'd love to hear your sources. If you find better packaging products or would like to contribute to this article, leave a note below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.