Appearance means almost everything when people are buying food. This is just as true about canned goods on a supermarket shelf as it about unwrapped fruit or vegetables at an open-air market anywhere in the world. All things being equal, consumers worldwide are hesitant to buy cans showing any evidence of outside surface corrosion, rust, discoloration or soiled and loosened labeling.
A major West Coast Food Canner/Packer approached Steve Hanna, CEO of Protective Packaging Corporation, with a very serious problem. The company was attempting to ship case-packed corrugated cartons of assorted canned goods (fish, meat, veggies and fruit) to foreign destinations by ocean freight. Over half of the can labels were coming off due to the moisture build-up inside the 20 to 40 foot shipboard containers.
When food products are enclosed in steel shipping or storage containers in high humidity areas or through changing temperature zones, the dew point can elevate to the point where it can virtually rain inside the container. Even modern canned goods, packed in corrugated cartons, may be subject to loosening or complete detachment of can or bottle labels. Corrugated cartons may absorb enough of the ambient moisture to weaken to the point of becoming completely useless.
Hanna represents Desiccare, the manufacturers of CargoDryPack, a blended, clay-base desiccant that is often recommended for ocean shipments when temperature changes are likely to produce very high dewpoint conditions and damaging humidity. Full container shipments to such points as South East Asia, South America, Africa and the Middle East often require special treatment of the entire container contents, whereas individual smaller loads are usually self-protected as pallet load units (wrapped and internally treated).
Hanna discussed the problem with Desiccare Regional Manager, Ted McIntyre, and Tech Engineer, John Hart. A recommendation was made that a quantity of 14 grams per cubic foot (based on overall container cubic capacity) of the CargoDryPack desiccant product be placed within each container to lower the humidity level. This was done in the form of individual 3.3 lb. cloth bags. The desiccant was inserted in the next shipment. An examination was performed at the first overseas destination. When the consignee opened the container and checked the cans – there were no labels loosened or detached. The customers feel the problem is completely solved, simply and inexpensively.