The clarion call at this time of Corvid-19 is minimal touch points hence a strong box. SoilQ is the solution as it will keep the product safe and will remain neat on arrival. The box is constructed using reinforcement band within the box, under patented technology.

Packaging might be the unsung hero of the fresh produce industry. It might not be the sexiest part of the supply chain. It is a sector that might be perceived – wrongly – as a less glamorous component of the supply chain. But without adequate solutions that work up and down the chain, produce will never arrive for presentation at the right quality.

However, behind the scene as Mr. Masila Kanyingi found out in a thirty minutes tour of Silpack Industries Ltd, there exists a wealth of innovation and dynamism within fresh-produce packaging. Silpack the introducers of SoliQ brand in Kenya has been exploring innovative methods to boost sustainability, increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve packaging as a marketing medium. Though introduced in their R&D department over six years ago “SoliQ”, is still the next generation packaging solution as Mr. Parit Shah, a Director with Silpack Industries Ltd, proudly refers it.


Masila: The flower industry has been yearning for quality packaging solutions; briefly discuss your efforts to quench their thirsty.

Parit: Over the past few years, we have recognised that growers have invested heavily in selection of the right variety and employed the best production practices for quality production. However, today the bottom line has become more dependent on ensuring quality produce reaches the market in the same quality. To ensure that our customers maintain the same quality throughout the cold chain, Silpack Industries Ltd introduced the SoliQ branded cartons, printed SFKs and other branded packaging products. However, despite this advancement in technology, some customers continued to prefer the traditionally constructed box using relatively weaker paper. This compelled Silpack Industries Ltd R&D department to engage into further innovation to ensure these growers still enjoy a strong box all through the cold chain. The fruits of these efforts are “SoliQ”, the next generation packaging solution.

Masila: Briefly discuss SoliQ, the products it covers and how it works.

Parit: As stated above, SoliQ is the next generation of packaging materials designed to enhance performance.

The solution is the best suited at this time of Corvid-19. The clarion call is minimal touch points hence a strong box. SoilQ is the solution as it will keep the product safe and will remain neat on arrival. The box is constructed using reinforcement band within the box, under patented technology. This will ensure customers enjoy a continuous drive for increased efficiency and commercial advantage in their facilities and through their supply chain. The carton ensures when flowers are packed at farm they remain fresh all through the supply chain. It is an high performance carton which can remain intact from farm to the customer.

Masila: You have kept on calling it a solution; explain to growers why you believe it is a solution to them.

Parit: Despite all the advancements in paper technology and the availability of SoliQ boxes to reduce damages and waste, some growers have continued to prefer to use the traditionally constructed box. This naturally results in bulging and breakage as the boxes move through the cold chain. To compensate for this damage, growers tend to request for over specified materials which in turn make the boxes heavier and more expensive. The net cost of going “cheap” is actually expensive as heavier boxes mean higher freight cost and a larger carbon footprint. A lot of these challenges have been addressed through the SoliQ range of boxes.

This is why we are calling it a solution all the way along the supply chain, a solution for the grower, the packer, for the retailer, for the logistics… right the way through the supply chain. We introduced solutions and responsibly trying to take costs into account. It’s not just about the packer and it’s not just about the retailer, it’s about the whole supply chain.

Masila: The Flower sector is battling Corvid-19 which has skyrocketed the freight cost. Do you still believe Soliq is the solution?

Parit: Thank you for that question. Yes, it is. Most of the growers who were not 100% soliQ are requesting for it. Others who had not embraced SoilQ are placing their orders.

SoliQ is a premium product which will remain the frontier box that have over the past four years provided solutions to the market of reducing the total cost of packaging in the cold chain. They have evolved over time and constantly finetuned to respond to any changes. They remain the box of choice for growers/ buyers that can benefit from freight saving as they deliver cargo CIF to customers or auction, or want to provide their customers with assurances that they have taken the best packaging to safeguard their valuable products as well as provide a freight saving to them.

Masila: These supply chain solutions seem to be an additional cost to growers at a time most growers are cutting on costs, are you not pushing them out of business?

Parit: As a pivotal part of the supply chain, quality packaging is expensive but growers have to be mindful of solutions all the way down the chain. To understand the benefits, one must look at it as an integral part of the cold chain. In all our products, we have always concentrated on the Total Cost of Ownership philosophy. The Total Cost of Ownership tests the true cost of packaging including benefits or losses that arise from using that option.

As illustrated, SoliQ box – Costs USD 0.20 more than a conventional box but saves 250gms on airfreight thus the total cost of ownership of using a SoliQ box is USD 0.30 less than using a conventional box to do the same job. This time of Corvid-19 growers may be saving more.

Masila: Give your final comment

Parit: Crushed cartons are a common feature at the bottom of regular air pallets. It damages the flowers and results in revenue loss. SoliQ in flower packaging goes a long way in increasing the protection of those boxes from crushing and save growers from unnecessary damages.

Additionally, the customer is becoming more aware of the premium price fetched by quality product flowers and the need to buy quality packaging. That is why packaging is increasingly playing a key role. The future lies on premium packaging solution and that is why every grower must embrace the next generation of packaging solutions.

On the premium ranges we’re helping both retailers and discounters drive sales. The term premiumisation, as it is now referred to, is becoming a key added-value battleground for the produce market. After introducing SoliQ boxes into the market with a stated aim of shaking things up, Silpack now wants to utilise its expertise in transforming boxes from simple receptacles of produce to mediums of communication.

Masila: Thanks for your time.