California Giant, Watsonville, Calif., conducted field tests on prototype cardboard clamshells for fresh strawberries to determine the most environmental-friendly package.

California Giant partnered with a key foodservice customer and Sambrailo Packaging, the Watsonville, Calif.-based maker of ReadyCycle, the cardboard strawberry clamshell, to conduct real-world shipments. 

In cooperation with Markon Cooperative, Salinas, Calif., the company spent several months testing the 2-pound clamshell in the field for shipments to distributor partners. After some adjustments were made to the container to ensure fruit integrity, a recent test shipment showed positive results, with the customer committed to introducing the container during peak berry season in 2019.  

This sustainability initiative is California Giant’s effort to reduce the amount of packaging in its supply chain, while increasing the potential of recyclability.

“We are happy to partner with Markon and Sambrailo Packaging to help make a difference and find new solutions for recyclability and ultimately being sustainable,” says Tom Smith, director of foodservice at California Giant. “There is definitely a cost issue associated with this package, but it’s exciting to see an organization focused on making a difference the first priority. The decision will ultimately lie with the consumer and test whether or not they are willing to pay for a fully recyclable container when buying their fresh berries in the future.”