Crates from Schoeller Allibert are helping to keep Irish retailers well stocked with fresh fruit and vegetable produce as part of a long-standing partnership with Glan Arís, Ireland’s premier pool operator of returnable crates for food handling and transportation.

Part of Donnelly Fresh Foods, Glan Arís was established in 2002 to manage the pool of crates which carry fruit, vegetables and other fresh produce to and from some of Ireland’s major retailers including BWG Foods and Aldi. Currently managing in excess of 130,000 crate movements per week, as well as more than 22,000 pallet units per week, Glan Arís is the largest Irish customer of Schoeller Allibert – Europe’s largest manufacturer of plastic containers and reusable transit packaging (RTP).

Schoeller Allibert’s Maxinest range is the preferred fresh produce RTP container for Glan Arís, representing around 80% of the 350,000 crates currently in the pool. Suitable for harvesting and distribution of most fruit and vegetables, from larger produce like cauliflower and cabbages through to apples, leaf vegetables and pre-packaged salads, Maxinest trays are also available in a 15-litre half tray model which is ideal for delicate produce including tomatoes and soft berries. As a retail-ready product, Maxinest trays reduce handling times while the ventilated design promotes air circulation helping prolong shelf life for delicate produce.

A key benefit of Maxinest trays for Glan Arís is their compatibility with the latest filling, weighing, handling and washing methods. In 2011, the pool operator made a major investment into a 40,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art crate washing facility to optimise hygiene and speed up turnaround times for its RTP pool. With a reinforced base and a recess under its bale arms, Maxinest is fully compatible with Glan Arís’s crate washing machine, able to meet the close tolerances demanded of such automated systems.

Neil Williams, Plant Manager at Glan Arís, explained: “Energy efficiency is a key facet in the design of our plant washing facility, with advanced water recycling technology as well as rainwater harvesting, sustainable lighting and heating, and solar panels. With this in mind we seek to source our crates from responsible suppliers and this is why we have partnered with Schoeller Allibert since our operations began. The crates we use are all full recyclable and also help us reduce our carbon footprint through optimising return logistics and vehicle fill.

“In addition, Schoeller Allibert has been able to make customisations to the products we use in order to suit our washing facility, for example including a pimple design on trays to ease the removal of adhesive labels in the washer.”

Brendan McGarry, Country Sales Manager – Ireland for Schoeller Allibert, added: “As long-term partners of Glan Arís, we are able to respond quickly to their evolving needs – for example by supplying Universal Display Pallets to help the company develop their business offering with retail customers. Additionally, our products can help customers achieve sustainability targets and in the case of Glan Arís, our Maxinest crates help to optimise return logistics, as empty trays nest by up to 76 per cent of their full height, saving space and reducing the amount of trips needed to bring empty trays to the wash plant.”