This year’s unexpected wet summer in Britain has led to a peculiar consequence: the growth of large pumpkins, right in time for Halloween.
DS Smith has reported a 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 whole 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 l square or cylindrical box to bulge, making them easier to fit inside trucks and shipping containers.