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Walmart Using Wood Effect Plastic Crates

22 Oct 2017

Major US supermarket chain Walmart has led the way for an innovative and clever approach to food storage by using wood-effect plastic crates for the fruit and vegetable aisles in the company’s stores. This comes after the firm’s profits have been hit as consumers choose to go for more local options such as farmers’ markets or stores considered more healthy and less corporate such as Whole Foods.

Read on to discover how wood-effect crates offer all the benefits of plastic storage whilst creating a pleasingly rustic look in-store.

Benefits of Plastic

In the fast-moving and low-margin food industry, hygiene and durability are huge factors when it comes to deciding on storage materials, as are low costs. The benefits of plastic crates for food industry firms include that fact that they can be easily cleaned and can be made to acceptable food-grade standards, which means food stored in a plastic crate is less likely to be contaminated than food stored in wooden crates – these simply cannot be cleaned in the same way. Furthermore, plastic is far more durable, which means crates can be reused for many years before degrading – unlike wooden crates, which are subject to cracking, rotting or falling apart. Plastic food crates have further benefits, including the prevention of splinters affecting staff and being more lightweight too, improving the manual handling standards in any workplace.

Authentic Look of a Farmers’ Market

Despite the many benefits of plastic food crates, consumers love the rustic look of wood, especially at fruit and vegetable aisles, where anything natural wins in aesthetics terms over plastic or metal. Wood-effect crates set the right tone – one of food hall or farmers’ market rather than supermarket chain. This sense of ‘authenticity’ and naturalness is a massive trend in shopping at the moment. The good news is that customers don’t in fact hang around for long enough to inspect the crates, which means supermarkets can use wood-effect to get the benefits of plastic whilst getting the look that reflects current trends in shopping.

A New Trend

It’s safe to say that Walmart has started something that is likely to carry over the pond to the UK. For Walmart it came out of a need to compete with stores such as Whole Foods, but in the UK we are seeing similar trends. As healthy eating gains more traction in the UK, and a desire for an authentic shopping experience, the likelihood of us seeing wood-effect plastic food storage crates in UK supermarkets is very high.

The benefits of plastic food crates will continue to mean that supermarkets use plastic over wood for all food storage – not just fruit and vegetables. In comparison to wooden pallets, plastic crates are more hygienic, more hard-wearing, lighter, easier to store and easier to handle.

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