Tosca launches new seafood container to eliminate foam
Atlanta, Georgia-based supply chain packaging innovator Tosca is offering the seafood industry a sustainable alternative for secondary packaging with its new reusable plastic container (RPC).
Launched this month, Tosca's seafood RPC arose from a growing, universal need for alternatives to EPS foam packaging. Currently, several U.S. counties, cities, and states have either moved to ban EPS foam outright (Maryland and Maine) or are drafting legislation to discourage its use (California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and New Jersey). In light of this shift, retailers and suppliers across the nation have been looking for more sustainable alternatives for shipping seafood that will enable them to leave EPS foam behind and, thus, uphold their strict sustainability commitments and directives, according to Tosca Vice President of Sales Jon Kalin.
“Based on the conversations that we have had with retailers, there’s a massive need and desire to eliminate EPS foam from their supply chains,” Kalin said. “It is incredibly wasteful and expensive and is an unsustainable form of transport packaging.”
Tosca set out to create a packaging solution for seafood that could successfully navigate the cold chain while maintaining product quality, noted Eric Frank, the company’s president and CEO.
“This is why our seafood RPC is cost-effective, food safe, and durable,” Frank said. “There are numerous benefits to the seafood RPC, however, it all starts with sustainability. Our RPC offers a sustainable alternative to polystyrene foam – they are reusable, they don’t break down, and they have a life cycle of anywhere from 10 to 15 years. When our RPCs reach the end of their lifecycles, they get recycled and turned into new containers."
Another key feature of Tosca’s seafood RPC is its space-saving capabilities, giving suppliers and processors a much-needed reprieve from the incessant clutter of stacked foam materials, which take up valuable warehouse space better suited for more profitable tasks or equipment, Frank explained. A six-inch high, fully-assembled RPC folds down to one inch once product has been unloaded, he said, leaving seafood processors and retailers ample warehouse room.
“It’s a space saver and a cost-saver – a superior solution all around,” Frank said.
From a financial standpoint, RPCs can be a third of the cost of foam containers, according to Frank. What’s more, the act of leasing the containers offers further sustainability benefits to seafood industry adopters by promoting the reuse of existing resources with each shipment. It’s a conscientious move for both the environment and companies’ bottom lines, he said.
Thus far, Tosca’s new secondary packaging solution – which can accommodate full filets of salmon (with the head and tail off), other types of finfish, and larger orders of shellfish – has been successfully trialed at retail in the Northeast United States. Insights gained in this trial process, as well as throughout the design stages from suppliers, retailers, and other categories, helped to create containers optimized for the seafood sector, Frank confirmed.
“We strive to create game-changing solutions and believe this new container will drive significant benefits for the seafood industry by reducing costs and reducing environmental impact,” Frank said.
Tosca’s seafood RPCs undergo the same stringent food safety protocols that the company uses for its solutions in other perishables categories.
“Once our RPCs journey from supplier to retailer and make a full turn, we pick them up and take them to one of these wash facilities, where they will be washed and sanitized to address the allergens associated with seafood. From there, we take the container back to the supplier, starting the whole process all over again,” Frank said.
Tosca expects to eliminate approximately 250,000 foam boxes from the seafood supply chain in the first year from the launch of its latest RPC – a win for seafood sustainability and the environment at large.
“If you were to lay those foam containers end to end, they would stretch for 126 miles,” Frank said. “If you stack them on top of each other, they would be as tall as 257 Burj Khalifas in Dubai.”
“Imagine what this could mean for the environment as more retailers and suppliers convert,” Frank concluded.