Three packaging pools, part of the cooperative auction houses in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, wanted to put an end to the logistics impasse of inefficiency in the packaging of fresh produce. They collaborated on this and devised a standard form of packaging for fruit and vegetables. The collaboration led to a sturdy, blue reusable type of packaging in four sizes and represented a major leap forward in the manner in which fresh fruit and vegetable were distributed throughout Europe. The administrator was Euro Pool System: a European pool organisation managed by the packaging pools with a simple, but strictly organised system. From the outset the packaging was a major success. The trays are sturdy, sustainable, clean, always available on time in the various European service centres and most importantly, the de facto standard.
Within a short time there were millions of blue packaging trays in circulation in the fresh supply chains in Europe and the use of these was growing annually. The deposit system led to a rapid rotation and also proved effective in preventing waste. Because Euro Pool System continued growing, the organisation became autonomous in 1996. The auction houses remained shareholders.
Because empty trays were being transported over greater distances, in 1997 we designed a new tray to reduce our carbon footprint: the folding sibling to the rigid tray. Stackable, even with the rigid version, but up to 86% less volume once the tray is folded. Because of this it is considerably more efficient and sustainable in the logistics of the fresh supply chain.
At that time the packaging was not only being used for fruit and vegetables, but to an increasing degree for fish, meat, baked and convenience products. Retailers discovered the benefits of this far-reaching standardisation. The packaging become a favourite across Europe, also outside the Benelux area and Germany. This is how Euro Pool System spread to Spain, France, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the opportunities in Great Britain were investigated.
Gradually we continued growing and in 2015 we achieved a record number of 888 million rotations a year. And we continue innovating. Euro Pool System is investing in washing capacity, service centres, traceability, automatic order picking and online registration of our packaging. We are placing more focus on service provision to retailers. In practice we do far more than managing reusable packaging: our strength lies not only in our packaging, but also in the knowledge of the logistics of fresh produce and service concepts.
In 2017 producers and retailers exceed 1 billion trays movements with Euro Pool System. This milestone is achieved with all parties in the chain. We are proud to help our partners to improve the sustainability of the fresh food supply chain. Choosing for reusable packaging implies a conscious choice for a sustainable supply chain.
Euro Pool System has extended its scope to other countries in Europe like Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria. That ensures that we can provide service to retailers that are internationally oriented. We are proud to be a market leader in Europe. Not only in size, but particularly because we are service oriented and collaborate with our customers to realise innovative solutions.
The fresh supply and return logistics has innumerable challenges for us to overcome. This requires close collaboration among retailers, Euro Pool System and other supply chain partners. Fortunately, we welcome collaboration. We nurture our collaborative roots. This ensures that we keep our thinking realistic. And it keeps us sharp, so we continue innovating!