Fruits and vegetables packaging
Once fruits and vegetables, especially in villages, were sold only in small shops or in those who were generally called "Alimentari" (grocer's shop) where was sold everything that was edible with the exception of meat that had its own shop: the butcher.
In these shops the fruit was sold in bulk as it still happens in markets and greengrocers.
Over time and due to supermarkets development there has been the utilization of several packages that allow to sell a reasonable amount of fruit or vegetables in a package that is already packaged with a label containing a barcode to facilitate checkout work.
When I started collecting the labels in supermarkets citrus fruits were already sold in packs of 1 to 2 Kg so it was a natural consequence of my collector habit, to retain these packaging and do not throw them away. Only recently I decided to rearrange and add them to my collection. While rearranging and recording them in my database, I wondered what could be their name and, not knowing it I was forced to make a description.
By chance surfing the net I found the "La Mariarosa"site and in packaging page I found the first names: girsac vertbag and, from these, I recovered all others by web searching.
I hope therefore to please other collectors reporting the nomenclature and description of the different packaging to avoid calling the same object by different names.
wineglassI listed names in English because it would be difficult and sometimes embarrassing to translate into another language. For example, labels that generally identify 1 kg fruit baskets are called by someone "Flag Labels" by other "Net Plastic" when their name is "Wine glass" which literally means "Glass of wine"!!!

Here the link to a good article in Italian and English describing the Italian vegetables market and especially describes packaging used in different stages from field to consumer.
The packaging can be divided into those used for wholesale and those in retail trading; we are interested in last ones. The following is a list with description of main ones.

Wineglass (or wine glass) labels: these labels are used to identify punnets contained in a net (photo 2), or nets of different shapes (photo 3), etc. Labels can be produced with a variety of materials, two most common are laminate / paper (LBL) and shiny ribbon / paper (LBR). The LBL is a white paper with a polypropylene laminate applied after the printing of the logo and text on paper layer. The LBR is made with a shiny pre-printed belt, coupled with paper. Both labels can be pre-printed front and back, but more often they are printed at one side while other, made of a heat-sensitive paper, allows, at packaging time, to print: expiration date, barcodes, or other relevant information (photo 1). wineglass
Labels are printed in large rolls which are then cut into strips used in packing machines, the label is normally attached to the container with a metal clip (photo 4): copper or zinc or plastic one (see USB).
Please note: information on back are engraved on a thermo-sensitive surface, print has a limited life: after a period ranging from a few months to a few years, the text fades until it disappears altogether. The only advice I can give is to photocopy the label back and keep it with the same.

Ribbons: tapes are 12-15 mm wide, in some cases reach 20 mm, they are usually printed on the top (photo 5). Are made of plastic reinforced with fibers to obtain the necessary strength to be used as a handle while maintaining flexibility. They are attached to both ends of the pack usually with metal clips (photo 2 and 4) that at same time close the net and, often, also fix the wineglass, Ribbon runs the entire length of the pack, its surface provides ample space for company identification, product information and, eventually, barcode. Only rarely they are colorful ribbons without any printing.
thick stripsThere are also thick plastic strips, 20 mm wide, printed on the top surface and attached to the plastic baskets with two metal eyelets that serve as proper handles. Sometimes some flexible tape 20 mm wide, are used on grapes box. A particular type is adhesive strip found on white fennel tufts of T18 Company or similar on some melons

Twist tie: It is simple paper or water-resistant tapes containing a wire, much used in supermarkets of the United States; large by a few mm to 1.5 cm. On their surface are printed: vendor data, product name, Plu, barcode etc. (photo 6). Can be used in two ways: either directly to tie together the vegetables (celery, parsley), or to close a bag containing the product. Definition on Wiki and info in All Packaging site.

vertical machine Now we look at a group of packages that generally takes the name of Vertical bag, name derives from the fact that they are generally developed in a vertical direction and that the machines (photo 7) producing the packaging work vertically: net is put around a cylinder, laterally there are two rolls of pre-printed plastic laminate, the net and the laminate are welded at the bottom by a heat sealer, the material to be packed, already weighted, go down from above, the heat sealer closes everything up and, in some cases, forms handles, simultaneously a printer prints a sticker with product information, this is pushed against one of two laminated so that each package has its own label. The picture beside is another example from the site of the Gir˛ Company.

Girsac: it is just about the most popular packaging system, was developed by the company Gir˛ with: Girplus, Ultrabag, Omega, USB and Clipped net.
Girsac consists of a net and of two pre-printed laminate bands that are fixed to the net only at bottom and top. In the upper part the two bands can have two holes or a handle (photo 8) to facilitate transport. Thanks to printed bands spread around packaging, Girsac offers great communication skills. Video of equipment that produces Girsac and Girplus. Net allows transpiration and its color can enhance the content appearance.
Girsac-in-row Girsac-in-row is a particular type of girsac that contains only a few elements (1-6) placed in a single row, is suitable especially for onion, garlic, lemon, grapefruit and lime. Girplus with holes Girplus with handles

Girplus: is the economic version of the above, the laminated side strips do not reach the bottom of the bag but they stop just below the top. As the Girsac they can have 2 holes or one handle. The marketing message is smaller. Video of equipment that produces Girplus. Ultrabag with 2 holesUltrabag with handles

Ultrabag: Ultrabag: in this case the band of laminate is much wider, as packaging width and to make it more rigid, is welded to the net bag (photo 9). Again there may be at top or 2 holes or handles for transportation.
Ultrabag differs from Vertbag for having a whole tube-shaped net and back laminate in one piece.

Omegabag: this system represents a step forward in the development of environmentally friendly packaging, thanks to its lightness and the use of a single material. It's made from 100% recyclable material because it uses high-density polyethylene for all components. A Wineglass label at handle base allows product identification (photo 10). All Omegabag offer great visibility of the product as an efficient level of transpiration. OmegaBag has been recognized for innovation and has won numerous awards. USB

USB (UltraSound Bag): USB is another step in the development of environmentally friendly packaging, thanks to its lightweight and use less material. This is a 100% recyclable using only high-density polyethylene to make all the components. Compared to Omegabag the handle was removed, the function of which is taken by the wineglass label.

Clipped net: this system has the characteristics of a low cost solution for packing fruit and vegetables. It allows high visibility and transpiration to product. Production is high due to the simple bag and use a metal clip to close the bag. The identification of the product is ensured by a wineglass label (photo 11).

Vertbag: Vertbag system has been developed by the Netpack Company with Netbag, Filnet and others.There is some confusion between the terms Vertbag and Netbag: the company: Rom Plastica uses the name Netbag for a product equal to Vertbag of Netpack Company. Vertbag
The Vertbag is a system using the set: net / laminated plastic assembled in coils: as you can see in photo 12 and at right (from Freshplaza), the coil has a central strip of laminated plastic welded at his two sides to two net strips, these are in turn welded to two strips of laminate. VertbagThe two outer strips, inside the packaging machine, are in part overlapped and welded togheter to obtain the back of the bag. In the second part of the Sorma company video you can easily see the formation of the bag from the roll; the same in the green beans video.Vertbag back The two strips of laminate are large (in most cases: 12-14 cm) so as to constitute almost the whole part of front and back of the bag. Seemingly similar to ultrabag, it differs in the rear side that consists of two overlapping strips welded together and the net present only in the lateral faces.
The large surfaces of the laminate are useful to put a lot of information, particularly in the posterior area where find place: product information, nutrition, recipes, manufacturer data etc. Batch informations may be placed on an adhesive label or printed directly on the laminate at processing time.

Netbag Netbag: the term is generic, in fact all net bags can be called so; in case of Netpack Company it is a net bag that is welded at the top to a pair of laminated strips with 2 or more holes for gripping and transporting (photo 13). The net can be an extruded one, all in one piece, or a woven mesh who may have various shapes and sizes.
Filnet
Filnet: system Filnet of Netpack company offers the front face entirely of laminate while rear one has a laminate band at the top and a net in the rest, this allows for a wide area to advertise the product while the rear net allows the transpiration of the product. In the upper part two holes for easy transport.

Carry-fresh: in U.S. this patented system is very popular (photo 14), very similar to Ultrabag, here one video on a packaging machine where you can follow the various operations that, starting from potatoes, from the net and the laminated lead to finished product.

Polybag: this name identify polyethylene bags, they can be printed only on the front or also on the back, often perforated for transpiration of the product. Batch can be identified by direct data printing or from data printed into an adhesive label. Seal can be performed by thermo-welding at top (in this case sometimes also forming holes for gripping) or with a sticky tape simple or with printed data which can be a production date or expiry date or a number or an acronym that identifies the packer (photo 15). Here video on apples packaging in a plastic bag.

Foam fruit net: a particular type of packaging born in China and firstly used for Nashi and Fuji apples, afterwards extended to other fruits, it is a net of polyethylene foam used to protect one by one fruits in a packaging, generally cylindrical in shape, the fruit is placed inside and then placed in the container (photo 16). Some types are visible in Fly Packing (China) site.

Fruit punnet: Punnetthis term include a wide range of plastic trays (often PET, photo 17), generally rectangular in shape, transparent or opaque, with lid (clamshell fruit punnet) or without, can be sealed and then content is protected by a controlled atmosphere, or have openings for ventilation (see image at right). They are used for small to medium sized fruit: strawberries, wild or mixed berries, tomatoes as well as peaches, apples, pears and so on. Here one video about plum tomatoes packaging in clamshell and another of round tomatoes in punnet with plastic film that encloses and protects.

Lidding film: Lidding filmis a film, normally made of PET, used to close punnets (photo 18); It can be holed for product transpiration, or hermetically sealed. In this last case product is immersed in a controlled or modified atmosphere. The controlled atmosphere consists of nitrogen or carbon dioxide or mixturesof both; unlike the modified atmosphere is air that has oxygen reduced percentage and sometimes even carbon dioxide increased. All these systems serve to inhibit microbial growth and to extend the retention time of the content.



On this page you can find many links to related companies and packaging films.


















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Clic on pictures to magnify wineglass
1 - Wineglass label front/rear.
tray 2 - A tomatoes tray with a Wineglass label and Ribbon that serves as a handle and contains manufacturer name.

apples bag 3 - Apples bag with Wineglass label

clips 4 - Copper clip that locks wineglass with net.

Ribbons 5 - Some Ribbons from my collection.

twist tie 6 - Two twist tie used in American supermarkets.

vertical machinery 7 - A vertical machinery of Gir˛ Company.

girsac with handles girsac with holes






8 - Two Girsac examples.


ultrabag 9 - Arrows indicate the area of the two welds of laminate to Ultrabag net.

OmegabagOmegabag 10 - Two Omegabag examples.

Clipped net 11 - A Clipped net packaging.

vertbag coil 12 - At right coil of net / laminate system from Rom Plastica site.

netbag 13 - Upper part of a Netbag.

Carry-fresh 14 - Carry-fresh from Unipac company.

polybag1 polybag2 15 - Two Polybag examples.

fruitPEfoam1 fruitPEfoam2" fruitPEfoam3
16 - Some Chinese products.


punnet punnet2" 17 - Some punnet examples from Sharpak site.

Carry-fresh 2alfa"





18 - Lidding film on punnet with tomatoes from pachino and persimmons