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Sustainable Packaging in the Soft Fruit Sector

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

Packaging Automation’s partner in Poland, Milbor PMC, discusses new packaging formats for fruit and vegetables

Recently, producers are becoming more aware of the effects of using single use and non-recyclable plastics in packaging. Consumers are increasingly turning to ecological products packed in biodegradable packaging. On the other hand, the food industry is looking for technology solutions which help them market their products and attract customers as much as possible. The consequence of this are changes in the way fruit, vegetables and other food products are packaged.

Plastic reduction

Until three years ago, trays with a clip on or clam shell lid were the most common packaging method for soft fruit in European retail. The pack format in this segment has changed a lot recently. Recycling options and logistics are becoming more and more important here, which is why supermarket chains are interested in packing fruit in top-seal technology using tray sealers. The tray and the top sealed film lid are made of the same material, which allows for full recycling of the packaging” - says Maciej Chmielewski, from Packaging Automation’s partner, Milbor PMC. “This type of packaging has many advantages: it not only saves on costs related to packaging material and personnel, but also prevents damage to the fruit during transport “ adds Chmielewski.

Printed film

Membership in the European Union and exports to its countries requires placing labels on food products. An additional advantage of the film lid is the ability to print a label directly onto this lid which due to its form is an ideal solution.

“The flat surface of the taut film lid allows for additional manufacturer’s marketing elements - such as logo, information about the product, or other eye-catching themed graphics” - explains Maciej Chmielewski from Milbor PMC. “Tray sealers support many packaging formats, depending on the customer's needs. Standard trays, shaker packs, buckets, double or triple compartment packs and break-away packs are just a few options. Customers, wanting to stand out, choose more and more shapes and sizes ”- he adds.

Half-kilogram buckets popular among blueberry producers

In the last season, buckets were the most popular packaging for blueberries. This trend was already developing in the Netherlands and Germany last season.

According to Maciej Chmielewski – “Buckets are a very good solution mainly due to their capacity - they can be packed with half a kilogram of fruit, which makes them attractive both for smaller producers packing by hand and large ones using weighing machines. In addition, they are very convenient to transport and carry.”

Ecological cardboard packaging

Ecological considerations play an increasingly important role in shaping the packaging market. The social responsibility of retail chains is growing, but so is the awareness of consumers themselves, who more and more often choose environmentally friendly packaging that can be reused or recycled. Consequently, more and more alternatives to standard plastic containers appear.

“Recently, cardboard fruit punnets have become very popular - they are visually attractive due to the large marketing area, and due to their ecological character, they are mainly used in BIO products. We also have more and more inquiries about packing soft fruits and mushrooms in containers made of pulp - biodegradable cellulose. Pulp containers can be quickly packed on a high speed weighing machine supplied by us, and then tightly closed using a tray sealer “- informs Chmielewski

If you would like to look at ways to reduce your environmental impact contact our Test Kitchen to see how we can help.


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