Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Packaging Science

Committee Chair/Advisor

Gregory S. Batt

Committee Member

Ksenija Gasic

Committee Member

R. Andrew Hurley


The direct-to-consumer (DTC) shipping mode presents new opportunity for fresh peach sales in North America where demand over the past four decades has steadily declined. The hazards in this distribution mode are severe, and fresh peaches are fragile emphasizing the need for proper protection. A full analysis that not only encompasses the effects of the direct-to-consumer distribution environment, but also incorporates analyses of the environmental and economic impact of the packages utilized for transit of peaches is necessary. In this study, we use the metrics of peach grade, firmness, soluble solids concentration, and percent softness before and after the distribution simulation to compare the protective performance of six DTC packaging systems. All six packages consist of a single layer corrugated box with varying primary packaging. A life cycle analysis of each package system is performed as well as an economic analysis of the packaged materials and cost to ship. We conclude that peach damage in shock testing is related to the freedom of movement that peaches have within each package type and is varied by package system. All the package types evaluated amplify input vibration in the frequency range commonly associated with the input from the tires of truck-trailer systems. There are no statistical differences between package systems in the distribution simulation of the six package types except in peach softness and grade of melting flesh peaches. Finally, we found that a reduction in material use and change in format, i.e., foam sheets to foam netting, provided for sufficient peach protection while reducing environmental and economic impact.

Available for download on Saturday, August 31, 2024