IFCO, Leading Global Provider of Reusable Packaging Solutions for Fresh Foods Celebrates 25 Years

At the risk of dating myself (as in being well past my “best before” date), I probably first started reporting on IFCO and RPCs in 1996. If I recall correctly, I interviewed Ken Rodgers of IFCO North America, who even then, expounded on the logistics efficiencies, cooling advantages and the product protection opportunity. I did find this interview from 2000. (For the earlier interview, I would probably have to mine the dark Internet.) I was excited by the concept then, and 21 years later, I am happy to see that RPCs have established a strong and growing position in the supply chain.

IFCO CEO, Wolfgang Orgeldinger has announced the company will celebrate the 25th anniversary since its founding in 1992.  The anniversary will be celebrated throughout 2017 with a series of customer events and a donation of 25,000 € to food banks across Europe and North America.

“This is an important milestone in IFCO’s history,” said Mr. Orgeldinger.  “Our company story is synonymous with the successful history of shared and reusable fresh food packaging.  IFCO started as an idea in 1992 and has grown into a global company operating a pool of more than 270 million reusable plastic containers for packaging, transporting, storing and displaying fresh food.  Our success is attributable to the compelling benefits of RPCs, the talented individuals who work here and the vision of our customers, who were quick to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of IFCO’s business model.”

A timeline of the company and its history includes:

1992:         The International Food Container Organization Ltd was established with the mission to become the premier provider of reusable packaging systems for fresh food. Over the next thirteen years, IFCO expanded its reusable plastic container (RPC) operations into seven countries in Europe (Austria, Switzerland, France, Scandinavia, Spain, UK, and Italy), North America (USA and Canada) and South America (Argentina and Brazil), and Japan through a joint venture.

2005-10:    IFCO continued its strong growth through increased business from existing customers, new product innovations, new geographies, and strategic acquisitions. By 2010 IFCO operations had grown to more than 210 locations worldwide, serving more than 8,700 producers and more than 90 retail partners.

2011:         IFCO was acquired by Brambles Limited (ASX:BXB), a global supply-chain logistics company specializing in the pooling of unit-load equipment and associated services, focusing on the outsourced management of pallets, crates and containers, primarily through the CHEP brand. Following this acquisition, CHEP’s RPC businesses were integrated into IFCO and now operate under the IFCO brand (excepting the RPC businesses in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa).

2015-16:    IFCO continued to expand its geographic footprint through acquisitions of leading poolers in Japan, Chile and Colombia.

Since joining the Brambles family of companies in 2011, IFCO has continued to expand into new geographies and new product categories while also growing its core businesses in fresh goods RPCs with the world’s leading retailers. Today, more than 1.4 billion shipments of fresh goods – including produce, meat, eggs, bread, seafood, dairy and other items – arrive at grocery stores around the world in IFCO reusable plastic containers every year. With customers in 50+ countries spanning six continents, a pool of more than 270 million containers, IFCO has established itself as the global leader in reusable packaging systems for fresh foods.

In September, IFCO announced its delivery of fiscal year 2016 annual revenue of US$992 million, representing 16% growth over the prior year at existing currency.