Agricultural / Fishery Products

Foam polystyrene molded products are widely employed in various areas of agriculture and fishery as mentioned below for their excellent characteristics of insulation, buffering, and lightweight:

A. Applications
1. Boxes for agricultural/fishery products

EPS effectively interrupts ambient temperature with its excellent heat resistance maintaining agricultural or fishery products fresh for an extended period to enhance value of merchandizes. It has also great mechanical strength for stacking high, and is excellent in lightweight for easy transportation. The product can keep its strength intact in water and at freezing temperature, and is clean on surfaces to improve reliability for the products inside the containers. Some boxes for fishery products have holes for draining melted ice.


2. Seedling trays

EPS products are used for seedling trays with their advantages:
- Ideal for effective water management
- Flat or ridged bottom
- Smooth inside surfaces consisted of cells for growth of roots
- Durability
- Cost-effectiveness
- Lightweight/convenient handling

3. Floats

EPS is widely employed for floats for its lightweight and low moisture absorption. The density of surface of a float shall be greater than 20 kg/m3, and the surface shall be deeper than 25 mm. Excessively thin surface may increase the moisture absorption.

B. Results of comparison study of freshness maintaining capability between EPS boxes and corrugated cardboard boxes for agricultural/fishery products
It has been proved that an EPS box shows freshness maintaining capability far better than a corrugated cardboard box. Results of tests on domestic apples, pears, peaches and tomatoes indicate that an EPS box is capable of maintaining freshness of the fruits far greater than the conventional corrugated box, and significantly reduces loss of marketability of agricultural products during storage and distribution of the products. In Korea, agricultural products are subject to high quality degradation during the distribution and storage, and reduced in value of merchandizes. It is estimated that some 15% (say, 100 thousands of tons annually) of the products are damaged.
The results of research shows weight loss of a pear up to 5.42% in a corrugated box, and smaller than 1.0% in an EPS box after 15 days of storage. Appearance test also indicates that pears in a corrugated box are rapidly degraded in appearance after 10 days of storage, and fully stripped off marketability after 15 days of storage. Similar test results are yielded for peaches and tomatoes (Refer to the table below)

Most of packing materials of agricultural products have been corrugated boxes so far, however, the corrugated boxes have caused significant damage to agricultural products in the boxes due to reduction of compression strength of the boxes caused by moisture absorption in rain or upon long-term storage on low temperature. On the contrary, EPS boxes feature high durability, buffering property, and insulation against moisture, and show freshness maintaining ability for agricultural products. The EPS boxes are widely used in the advanced countries including America and Japan.
Agricultural products have been imported in consistently increased way, and it demands immediate development of packing method and packing technologies for keeping quality of the domestic products. In these situations, success in development of EPS, a new packing material, significantly contributes to keeping the products fresh, and opens a possibility of wide utilization for the packing boxes.

Classification Weight Loss Rate Appearance inspection Remarks
EPS Box Corrugated cardboard box
Apple 1.39% 4.25% EPS box shows superior freshness maintaining capability After storage for 15 days
Pear 1.0% 5.42% Pears in corrugated boxes rapidly lose marketability due to degradation of appearance quality After storage for 15 days
Peach 1.43% 3.04% Pears stored in EPS boxes show superior properties of rind discoloration delay, and flesh softening suppression After storage for 5 days
Tomato 7.8% 14.9%
Two times of EPS box
Tomatoes stored in EPS boxes show excellent freshness. After storage for 12 days