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Surge in demand for pumpkin packaging due to scarily large crop!

Packaging Solutions


This year's unexpected wet summer in Britain has led to a peculiar consequence: the growth of scarily large pumpkins, right in time for Halloween!

As a result, DS Smith has reported an unprecedented 25% surge in demand for its Octabins – the specialised eight sided cardboard containers used for transporting pumpkins. The company expects to box up over 11 million pumpkins into 126,000 Octabins in the UK this year.

The heavy rains in July and August created the ideal environment for the water guzzling squashes to thrive, while a warm spell in September and early October hastened their ripening.

As supermarkets stock up on the giant gourds, larger pumpkins have presented new challenges for the supply chain. Shipping of the UK’s pumpkin harvest is a short but intense period, which can start as early as the end of August, however 2023’s wet summer pushed back this year’s harvest. This unusually tight window meant growers have been rushing to ensure that the harvest makes it from farms to supermarkets safely.


As large and heavy items to ship in bulk, pumpkins require specialist packaging solutions. The eight sided cardboard Octabin has been designed by DS Smith to hold up to 1.25 tonnes, and can store up to 85 pumpkins safely stacked on top of each other.

The Octabins are made of recyclable cardboard, and designed with an octagonal shape, which is less likely than a square or cylindrical box to bulge, making them easier to fit inside trucks and shipping containers.

Ross McGowan, pumpkin grower at Hatter’s farm in Essex, said: ‘The summer rainfall has produced massive pumpkins but also pushed back the harvest window to make it one of the tightest ever, plus this year’s pumpkin harvest has been the biggest we have ever experienced ­– some pumpkins are weighing in at 25 kilos. When they are that big, what they are stored or transported in can become an issue and the last bins I used were hopeless and couldn’t hold the weight to be double stacked. As a pumpkin farmer, you need something incredibly robust, but at Hatter’s Farm we also want something sustainable as that is really important to us, and to the families that come and visit us.’

Joe Coote, pumpkin packaging account manager at DS Smith, said: ‘The size of this year's pumpkins has caused an unprecedented demand for our specialist Halloween pumpkin packaging – our design uses an octagon shape to give it super strength. We are in a race against the clock to get our Octabins bins to growers and retailers who have only recently realised they need extra storage for their giant pumpkins, and we are the only company in the UK who can turn around spookily printed packaging in such large numbers, at speed, that is strong enough for these heavy crops. The result is that we have been flooded with orders. In the last two weeks alone, we have had to make and deliver tens of thousands more Octabins for retailers due to this year’s pumpkin size. It has been a phenomenal season for us, and we have loved helping to get the UK's pumpkins to where they need to be.’





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