The new packaging solution, “Fruitpack” is 100 per cent recyclable carton board and has previously had success in Europe with produce such as citrus. Company Managing Director Rob Beshay says there is significant shift in momentum towards environmentally friendly packaging and with a significant focus on sustainability, and consumer reaction, timing could not be better.
"We believe Fruitpack will enable people to move out of non-sustainable packaging into a sustainable packaging solution and take advantage of the fact that they are able to brand their product on the pack," he said. "Historically the Australian market has been unbranded. For instance, we can provide recipes on pack or good news story of a farmer with a picture of the farm to wash instructions for things like rockmelon to help counter the negative press the melon industry has been subjected to of late. The possibilities are endless. The last thing the Australian market needs is a substrate which contaminates the current recycling stream, With Fruitpack retailers and consumers alike can rest assured that the product is 100 per cent sustainable and recyclable.”
i-Procure is a supply chain solutions company specialising in new product development, supplier consolidation and cost reduction strategies. It sources goods and services for supply chain and operational functions from numerous suppliers both locally and globally. The Fruitpack was on display at last month's Hort Connections in Brisbane.
Mr Beshay says the company has conducted a number of trials surrounding freshness, using a range of produce including tomatoes, stone fruit, apples and citrus, as well as vegetables.
"We have conducted numerous shelf-life trials and the findings have been extremely positive," he said. "Consumer and retailer feedback has been fantastic. It's a product that we have brought to Australia that has already been proven in Europe. So citrus growers in Spain have been sending citrus packs to various supermarket chains in UK, and it has been commercially proven already. The feedback in the Australian market at the moment is that everybody is excited as a whole - we are just massaging it in at the moment waiting for the market to shift gears."
The company has the ability through its partner Graphic Packaging International (GPI) to supply smaller growers right up to the larger multinational packhouses and exporters. i-Procure can even supply the machinery compatible with Fruitpack or hand erected versions to the smaller producers/packers.
The product is PEFC Certified, While there are currently no products on the market in Australia using this packaging, i-Procure is confident it will not take long for the product to take-off, with its environmental benefits and on pack branding.
"For the first order of the stock, it will take about three months to bring that board in after that it’s easy, we can hold and mange inventory," Mr Beshay said. "As there are no local board mills "It requires a specific order that comes in from overseas. Then we print and convert on a local level to meet market requirements. The supply chain behind the certification that we have got is complex however it enables us to be able to identify which forest the stock has been pulled from, and converted into what pack thereabouts, in the Australian market."
"I think the amount of plastic that is currently being used can significantly change to almost half by looking at proven alternatives like Fruitpack," he said. "I just think that the Australian market, needs to be educated as to what direction to go, because there is a whole lot of hype where people are having trouble deciphering the different messages that are coming from different lines of media. I think once that is sorted through, there is going to be a significant and momentous shift."