While preparing for a farmer’s market, the last thing you want to do is stress over the packaging. Although it might seem like a complex topic to understand on the surface, packaging is not as complicated as it looks.
Your packaging doesn’t have to look out of the ordinary, but it will need to change over time if you decide to scale up your operation. However, that will come at another time. Plastic or paper bags from your local grocery store will do the trick if you run out of time, but it is not ideal.
Other types of packaging will do the job better than bags from a grocery store and offer a more desirable look for your brand. So, without further ado, here are some tips on how to package your produce for the farmer’s market.
Know the Qualities That Make Good Packaging
When you first start out with the selection process for your produce packaging, focus on the bare necessities. This type of practical packaging is acceptable initially, but it’s only a temporary solution, so you should start thinking about your main choice of packaging in the future.
There are a few qualities that make for high-quality packaging when working with produce: the first is clean packaging.
Working with food means that there are regulations in place to make sure people don’t get sick. Packaging helps you comply with these regulations for the safety of your customers and your business. Getting certified by a local board or government agency sets you up for success with your produce and teaches you everything you need to know about the rules.
The main reasons to strive for cleanliness in packaging are to avoid cross-contamination with germs and to sell produce that is up to sanitation standards. However, having clean packaging doesn’t matter if your crop isn’t, so make sure your crop is clean before searching for packaging.
The next quality that makes excellent packaging is if it organizes your produce by unit. For example, if you sell thyme at the farmer’s market for four dollars an ounce, you will want to have your products packaged by the ounce. Having your inventory organized is critical when running a small business, so you want your packaging to reflect that.
Finally, you will want to make sure that your packaging will survive transport. For example, selling raw fruits and vegetables is fine for friends and family, but when you sell at a farmer’s market, you need secure packaging to ensure the produce survives the trip. You will also need boxes or bags to carry the packaged materials from your farm to the car.
Overall, once you get acclimated with the different types of packaging available, you will learn what qualities suit your needs the best. This could include eco-friendly packaging, wholesale bulk quantity deals or discounts, and breathable or vented materials.
Understand Why Packaging Is Important
While it is necessary for selling, packaging also strengthens brand awareness. The packaging protects your produce from outside contaminants, so understanding why good packaging is critical will help you make better decisions for what you want.
Food safety is your main priority when considering packaging, but it benefits you on the business side of things as well. Packaging must be strong enough to resist the impact of rough handling. In addition, it needs to protect against bruising because bruised items are not worth selling.
Bruising in produce shortens its shelf life and leaves it vulnerable to decay. Conversely, proper packaging maintains freshness and extends the shelf life.
Some produce needs mesh packaging or something with holes for ventilation. Other types of produce might need a coated or waxed case to close off humidity or more insulation for a consistent internal temperature.
Practical choices are essential but remember that you must have eye-catching packaging that will grab people’s attention. You don’t need anything too fussy: an easily printable designed label on the container will suffice.
All these qualities lead to the best packaging experience for both the supplier and consumer. You want convenient and easy-to-use packaging, so put that in the back of your mind when it is time to make your purchase.
Consider the Design From the Customer’s Perspective
Sometimes, the most cost-effective packaging from a business perspective is the least convenient for the customer. Packaging that is tough to open may induce “wrap rage,” leading to a negative perception of your brand. This usually doesn’t pertain to farmer’s market supplies
, but it can if you choose the wrong material.
Also, overstuffing your packaging with produce leads to a mess when it finally bursts open. Although customers like receiving more of the product, this is not the way to do it.
The sum total of your decisions will lead to a memorable experience for the customer. For example, if you hand your raw produce over to the customer, it won’t last as long and will look dull.
However, if you gave them a vented package with a colorful label and instructions for storage, your customer won’t forget about the product or your brand. Overall, good packaging is essential for upward sales mobility.
In closing, produce packaging comes in many shapes, styles, materials, and sizes. No matter which one you choose, you know that it must protect the product, provide safe transport, and bring visibility to the product. The most popular types of packaging are boxes, bags, pouches, and, for larger sizes, pallets.
The last thing you want to do before taking your produce to a farmer’s market is find a local consultant or salesman to assist you in your decision. They can show you samples of the different packaging and recommend the most specific type for your needs.
Your relationship with this person might also yield discounts on the packaging you purchase through them. Reaching out to packaging manufacturers in your area will expedite this process. After all is said and done, you should feel like an expert on how to package your produce for the farmer’s market.