With sales revenue of more than €5 billion, approximately 1,500 points of sale and almost 35,000 employees, SPAR is one of the leading retailers in Austria. The retailer appointed IFCO as its long-term provider of reusable packaging services for fruits and vegetables in October 2010, allowing IFCO to demonstrate its objective of developing environmentally-friendly services to meet consumers’ and retailers’ growing demand for greener products.
IFCO reusable plastic crates in use at a SPAR store in Austria.
In using IFCO crates, SPAR has become the latest partner of IFCO’s Worldwide Responsibility sustainability initiative, contributing to a significant reduction in waste from the use of one-way packaging, particularly corrugated boxes, and optimising logistics efficiency through the entire supply chain. Reusable plastic crates (RPCs) provide an overall cost saving of 23% compared with cardboard boxes, according to a study from European research organisation, Fraunhofer.
IFCO provides SPAR with 10 different types of environmentally friendly crates for the complete range of fruit and vegetables. The sturdy construction, rounded inner edges and airflow-maximising design of IFCO’s containers provides optimal produce protection, freshness and quality, as well as a significant reduction in damage to goods during storage and transport.
SPAR’s use of RPCs involves 16 million trips through the IFCO cycle, which ends with inspection, cleaning and sanitisation to the most stringent hygiene standards. The used crates are collected at six points and sent to IFCO’s wash and service centre at which the introduction of innovative centrifuges have significantly improved the drying process and cut energy use by 90% compared with conventional hot-air systems. The containers are then put back in IFCO’s cycle for further use in transport, storage and display at the point of sale.
SPAR’s Salzburg-based Business Process Manager for Fruit & Vegetables, Dietmar Steiner, says: “IFCO’s environmentally-friendly packaging system enables SPAR to achieve cost savings and efficiency improvements over the entire supply chain. IFCO’s infrastructure and service competence were the determining factor in our decision in regard to this long-lasting partnership.”
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