When it comes to packaging and, more generally, logistics, Italy still has a lot to learn from abroad. While in Italy – especially as regards meat processing – cardboard is still the most widely used material for transport and sale of final products, in Northern Europe plastic has been used for many years since it responds better to the needs of processing companies and their customers.
Yet in recent years, Italy has also seen increasing interest in handling meat products in reusable plastic crates, following the standard with the E series crates. The German group vpool is undoubtedly a leader in this market segment and is already very active throughout the Old Continent with pooled equipment and systems for the food industry. “Vpool arrived in Italy in 2011 as Euro Leegurt,” Eurocarne Post was told by Raffaele Iacomino, the company's Business Development Manager for Italy. “Since then, its importance has grown considerably. In 2014, it handled as many as two and a half million export crates, which was a very positive result”.
The service offered by vpool includes rental of the material and delivery of crates to customers that, once used, are collected and transferred to washing centres for control and sanitation. “The most important benefit associated with the use of plastic packaging,” Iacomino adds, “is precisely the fact that it can be recycled and its lower impact on the environment when compared, for example, to cardboard. In addition, vpool offers its customers a complete service: they do not even have to worry about waste disposal, which for them is also a reduction in terms of real costs”.
Using plastic is consequently an advantage. “The problem in Italy is that people still think in short-term contexts,” says Iacomino. “Cardboard may cost less than plastic but it is less durable. However, adaptation to this new approach will come about in the meat sector as has already happened for fruit and vegetables. 2015 will also see the first washing centre be opened in Italy to sanitise and recycle plastic crates, which bodes well”.
The trend as regards revenue and handling operations has seen a 25% growth rate over the last year. “vpool will attend Eurocarne in May for the first time,” Iacomino concluded, “precisely for this reason: to inform the greatest possible number of sector experts about the advantages of the solution we offer”.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook