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Wakefern Implements Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Reusable plastic containers aim to boost co-op’s produce quality, protect environment
Wakefern Implements Sustainable Packaging Solutions IFCO Tosca
By working with RPC providers IFCO and Tosca, Wakefern is able to maximize supply chain efficiency through better product protection and temperature control of its produce offerings.

Retailer-owned grocery cooperative Wakefern Food Corp. has introduced reusable plastic containers (RPCs) in its banners’ produce departments to enhance quality and sustainability, and reduce costs for customers.  

By working with such global RPC providers as Tampa, Fla.-based IFCO and Atlanta-based Tosca, Wakefern is able to maximize supply chain efficiency through better product protection and temperature control. The containers also save time, space and money for shippers and improve freshness with highly ventilated, foldable and sturdy designs. Further, the RPCs allow produce to be better stored and handled in warehouses through efficient stacking and integration with automated processes, reducing potential food loss and waste from conventional single-use packaging. 

“Adopting reusable RPCs is a win for our customers, our suppliers, the environment and Wakefern,” noted Robert Zuehlke, manager of corporate social responsibility for the company. “Wakefern is focused on engaging vendors whose products help drive a more sustainable future by reducing the environmental impacts of packaging, food waste and greenhouse-gas emissions.”

When compared with single-use packaging, RPCs are shown to generate less carbon dioxide and solid waste, and also require less energy and use less water than their single-use counterparts.

The largest retailer-owned grocery cooperative in the United States. Keasbey, N.J.-based Wakefern Food Corp. comprises nearly 50 members that independently own and operate 363 supermarkets under the ShopRite, Price Rite Marketplace, The Fresh Grocer, Dearborn Market, Gourmet Garage, and Fairway Market banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The company is No. 23 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 listing of North America’s top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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