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The International
Group of Companies
A Market Leader in Plastic Textiles

Knitted Vegetable Pocket

Knitted Vegetable Pockets Ensure Better Fresh Produce

To the uninitiated it might seem perfectly reasonable for producers to simply put their fresh produce into the bags made from the normal plastic used for the carriers dispensed by our supermarkets. However, while these may prove fractionally cheaper to buy, the cost to the general health of the aubergines, avocados and peppers en route would far exceed any savings achieved by resorting to this totally unsuitable form of packaging and serves to underline the value of, instead, using knitted vegetable pockets.

Often when buying such items loose, the shopkeeper will weigh them and then proceed to place them in a plastic packet and finish by carefully knotting it.  After a relatively short ride home in a hot car, however, the contents will often be found to be dripping with condensation once the packet is re-opened. Warmth and moisture, together, are widely known to provide the perfect conditions needed to accelerate the growth of microorganisms that will inevitably lead to spoilage. One solution that is commonly applied is to provide the packet with a series of strategically placed holes although this really only provides a partial respite as where the fruits of vegetables are in contact with the plastic, sweating will still occur in time.

In practice, in order to address this issue effectively, it is necessary to use some form of packaging that is both strong and allows the free circulation of air throughout the entire contents. The perforated structure acts to prevent this potentially harmful build-up of dampness. To achieve this, the plastic filaments are used to create a fine mesh rather than a solid sheet of fabric. The mesh is still able to provide the support required for the perishable items it contains, but the actual surface contact between the contents and the fabric of the packaging is kept to a bare minimum.

Today, this type of structure and its associated properties is to be found in the knitted vegetable pockets prepared from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that are now used almost universally for the transport, storage and display of the bulk of South Africa’s fresh produce. In turn, the bulk of this type of packaging is made locally and among the leaders in this field are the manufacturing arms of The International Group of Companies that, between them, offer a wide range of packaging solutions that includes woven polypropylene bags, paper and plastic bags, cardboard and the ubiquitous polyurethane cups and trays used in the fast food industry and supermarkets and known collectively as Fomo products.

The density of their mesh can be varied in accordance with needs of the end-user and, in addition to facilitating the aeration of the contents; this also allows them to be identified with ease. The identification process is further assisted by the use of differently coloured fabrics intended to denote different contents so, for instance, an orange sack could indicate that it contains carrots.

Undoubtedly one of the other most important properties of this material lies in its strength. Bags made from HDPE have welded seams and so do not depend upon adhesives that may fail under strain. The International Group of Companies provides them in a range of capacities and the larger sizes are designed to handle loads of up to 25Kg with ease. The elasticity that results from the mesh structure is also an important feature of these items. The ability of these fabric sacks to stretch under the weight of their load helps to ensure that the fruits or vegetables contained are not subjected to too much pressure that might otherwise result in surface bruising and abrasions and rendering them less marketable.

It is apparent that these knitted vegetable pockets provide an invaluable service to the nation’s growers and to the supply chain while manufacturers such as The International Group of Companies ensure that we all enjoy better quality fresh produce.