Table of Contents

 1. Overview

This chapter deals with that part of the supply chain where the product is packaged for marketing.

“Packaging” can include rigid and flexible plastic containers, cardboard containers, plastic bulk bins, punnets and trays for fruit and vegetables, sachet machines, tinplate pails and cans and other metal containers, polyfoam, polystyrene, as well as the equipment used prepare the product for the market.

A walk along any fresh produce market floor will emphasise the role of packaging in promoting fresh produce. Nothing looks better than a neatly stacked row of pallets boasting an attractive, branded, quality product for sale. (The contrast is brown, unattractive cartons, often bent and buckled, offering inferior quality to the cheap-line buyer).

Labelling legislation came into effect from 2012, governing the use of terms like “free range”, “organic”, “free range” etc. The legislation stems from the Department of Health’s Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs (regulation R146/2010), but detailing and enforcing these protocols will be the responsibility of DAFF. Coupled with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), it means that labelling of products will require more thought, accuracy and caution than in the past.

The development of Africa’s handling systems and cold chain potential is vital in promoting intra-Africa trade.

Source: Packaging Council of South Africa (adapted)


2. Packaging in agriculture

  • A major trend in the food industry is to make packaging more environmentally friendly and to increase the rate of recycling.
  • Local fresh produce buyers have refined logistics to where produce is packed in the field and stays in that container all the way through to the retailer’s shelf.
  • Bulk bins are used, but this is for produce that is intended for juicing.
  • Computerisation (bar coding) makes it possible for the producer or purchaser to trace any pallet, bulk bin or carton from the farm to the supermarket throughout the supply chain. For high value products RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Discs) tags are increasingly being used to counter fraud and control inventories.
  • Some of the repacking takes place overseas for two reasons: (1) to recheck the quality of the fruit received, and (2) to react quicker to the market demands.
Source: Packaging Council of South Africa 


3. Recycling and Biodegradable Packaging

See also the following:


4. Associations involved

  • Packaging SA Tel: 012 001 1914
  • Packhouse Action Group c/o HORTGRO Tel: 021 870 2900
  • Plastics SA Tel: 011 314 4021
  • Polystyrene Association of South Africa Tel: 021 531 0647
  • Produce Marketing Association (PMA) 079 497 1594
  • Responsible Packaging Management Association of Southern Africa Tel: 032 947 1145 Responsible Packaging Management is a process that follows the entire lifecycle of a container. Its purpose is to address economic, legal and regulatory concerns associated with container use.
  • Witzenburg PALS (Partners in Agri Land Solutions) Tel: 023 316 1191 Value chain projects include pack houses