Milopri Look to Plastic Crates for Avocado Packing Needs

Avocado shipper has converted from corrugated fiberboard boxes to recyclable single trip plastic containers from Plasgad.

Breeze crates provide a more stable unit load, reducing product damage and improving handling as well as storage efficiencies.

Milopri, joint owned by a collaborative of 25 kibbutzim in the Western Galilee, is one of the largest packaging houses in Israel for avocados. It is located near Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra in the north. Milopri is expanding to provide fresh and high-quality produce to the customers in the local market. In recent years, 20,000 to 26,000 tons have been packaged in packing facilities, representing about 25% of Israel’s total crop and about one-third of the country’s avocado exports. Approximately 75% of Milopri’s output is marketed for export – primarily to Western Europe. The main variety of avocado is Haas with further varieties for export including Ettinger, Pinkerton, Fuerte, Ardit, Reed and more.

Milopri decided to contact Plasgad, a specialist in advanced packaging solutions, to research and test an efficient packaging solution that could fully meet the company’s needs. Ben Vardi, Vice President of Operations for Milopri, is the point-of-contact and driving force behind the project

A convenient access door allows inspection of fresh produce items without the need to remove crates.

In the interests of best serving the project, a dedicated team was built, comprised of sales, development and operation personnel on behalf of the two companies, Plasgad and Milopri. With unprecedented cooperation, a solution was built to suit the unique needs of the client. The process included careful examination of the existing system and understanding the entire process lifecycle from the moment fruit was received and packaged right up until delivery to local or international destinations.

Several inefficiencies in the existing packaging system were identified. These weaknesses included poor ventilation, limited stacking strength, the susceptibility of packaging to humidity and a difficulty in accessing product for quality assurance sampling. Led by Iftah Poran, VP Development at Plasgad and Michal Moses, Product Manager at Plasgad, a number of options were developed in order to offer a solution that could suit the requirements and needs of Milopri.

The solution that was created for Milopri is the “Breeze” crate, an ultra light-weight, recyclable crate designed for fruit shipping that has not yet ripened (but not exclusively). The Haas crate is intended to remain in the steam room, based on an advanced engineering design that allows maximum ventilation. As a result, despite being a light single use box, it is particularly strong. The highlight of the new crate’s functionality, already earning it a registered patent, is a control opening allowing fruit to be sampled from any crate in bulk – without the need to cut the crate or unpack the pallet. Previously, information relevant to a crate’s contents was attached to the cardboard boxes and manually marked. Today, pertinent information is printed directly on the plastic crate as part of an automated production line.

The Breeze crates have already entered the Milopri packing and delivery system. The next stage will be maintaining sustainability and the environment – the collection and recycling of crates at end points for the production of new crates.

“The Milopri philosophy is that to remain a leading supplier of avocados,” explained Vardi, “it is important to analyze over the years what our clients need, both in terms of exports and the local market, bringing fresh produce to the home consumer of the highest quality, at the highest level. I believe that the solution we created in working with Plasgad reflects this concept. We are indeed able to leapfrog to a new standard, providing a quality and convenient solution for both our customers and the environment. ”

“Milopri approached Plasgad after reviewing the market and reaching the conclusion that Plasgad is the company most able to provide a quality solution for the export of fruit around the world,” said Alon Kadosh, VP Sales Israel for Plasgad. “Milopri can enjoy the Plasgad technological advantages at its disposal, adapting a unique and high-end crate that can save money throughout the export chain and best protect the fruit as it is transported during the ripening process. All this was made possible thanks to the elevated level of cooperation throughout the process and appreciation of a mutual commitment. ”