Made-in-Transit Packaging: Innovative, But is it Practical?

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p>Most fresh food comes with a “best before” date, but Amsterdam-based Canadian designer Agata Jaworska thinks it should be marked “ready by.” Her concept: packaging in which food can keep growing during shipping to the supermarket so that it arrives ready to be harvested, in a state of optimum freshness.


Made-in-Transit Packaging, TIME’s picks for the top innovations of 2008

I must admit that when I first came across the Made-in-Transit concept it was through the above video – which by the way is very well done in that it is unique, distinguishable and without a doubt memorable.

The premise behind Made-in-Transit is fairly straight forward in that certain perishable goods could be distributed more reliably from a quality standpoint while simultaneously reducing the costs associated with current “preserve” methods of production and distribution.

What is also interesting is that the visionary genius behind the concept Agata Jaworska, has demonstrated a rare character trait in that she not only acknowledges detractors of her idea but welcomes their input. More specifically, in a December 7th, 2007 article titled “Made in Transit: The end of the factory?” she openly acknowledges the fact that experts from the world of academia and industry have raised valid questions regarding potential problems such as the impact of vibrations during transport on mushrooms at various stages of growth.

Rather that defend her idea, Jaworska actually incorporates such feedback into her ongoing research, which means that she is more committed to getting it right than being right. This approach increases her likelihood of success as she is not trying to prove a decided upon outcome but instead is more focused on perfecting one.

Even though, and as pointed out in the same December 2007 article, the Made-in-Transit concept is not applicable to all commodities such as bananas, for which you would either have to ship the tree with the fruit or develop an in vitro-type “fruit tissue cell proliferation,” it nonetheless offers a viable option with other types of produce such as the aforementioned mushrooms.

According to statistics out of the Netherlands, the third largest mushroom producer in the world after China and the United States, the yearly loss of income from expired perishables is estimated at €500m, or 5-10 per cent of the total turnover. This alone makes Jaworska’s Made-in-Transit packaging a worthwhile pursuit, especially since those in the industry view transportation and packaging as an essential yet expensive and wasteful necessity for which they would like to find an alternative.

I will continue to delve deeper into the Made-in-Transit model and provide an update in the coming weeks. In the meantime, what are your thoughts regarding Made-in-Transit packaging? Is it in fact under the right circumstances a viable concept that can improve quality while reducing production and distribution costs?


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