Having carried out many fresh fish packaging trials with their customers over the last six years, PPS East has found that a good percentage of fresh fish packed into reusable plastic containers and delivered on today’s closed loop chilled transport system, arrive at its destination at a higher quality of freshness. This is when compared with fresh fish carried in traditional thermal insulated boxes as used in the seafood industry.
The temperature controlled vehicles chill the product by penetrating cold air through the PPS plastic box walls acting as a refrigerator directly onto the product being carried.
Fresh fish that is packed into thermal insulated type boxes and then transported on refrigerated vehicles in closed loop supply chains have shown higher temperature readings on arrival. The reason for this could be that it is largely the ice inside the boxes that keeps the fish cold and not the vehicles refrigeration unit. It is thought to be harder for the cold air to chill product through the thick box walls of this type of packaging.
Not only this, the quality of the fish could also be higher due to the fact that many of PPS’s boxes are designed with holes that allow water to drain away from the pallet and therefore, the fish is not laid in melted ice or its own fluid, which can speed up bacteria growth.
Fresh fish suppliers who are transporting their catch in thermal insulated type boxes, palletised and loaded into temperature controlled vehicles are actually using two different types of chilling methods, which could actually be working against each other and therefore, not achieving the best results or value for money.
PPS East has undertaken comprehensive box trials considering different species of seafood at various stages of processing - including whole fish, fillets and loins. These have also included supply chains transporting fresh fish by sea and road, from Scotland, Iceland and Norway into Grimsby at various times of the year.
PPS East has found the results to be very positive and in favour of reusable plastic fish boxes, but would be the first to acknowledge that there are additional factors to be taken in consideration when looking at advances in controlling bulk fish quality.
These would include temperature of product when packed, type/amount of ice used, quality control on packing of the fish, condition of vehicle’s doors and refrigeration unit, length of journey, and etc.