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 SA

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 SA

Recycling and Biodegradable Packaging

See also the following:

Associations involved

Agri Academy SA Tel: 021 880 1276/7
Packaging and packaging requirements is included in the training done on technical market access requirements.

FOODBEV Tel: 011 253 7300
FoodBev is the Sector Education and Training Authority responsible for facilitating training in the food and beverages manufacturing sector. Packaging operations are included in its learning programmes. Find accredited training providers on the website.

Institute of Packaging SA (IPSA) Tel: 041 379 5599

The organisation is also a voluntary body focusing on industry professionalism via education. As part of its commitment to education the Institute of Packaging manages a packaging diploma programme and also runs the well known Goldpack and Student Goldpack Awards.

Companies involved

Cold storage

Find the several options dealing with refrigeration at

Scales and weighing equipment

General handling systems




Websites and publications

Visit websites mentioned earlier in this chapter.

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