Unofficially, Fruit Logistica was all about sustainability this year. Exhibitors and visitors were particularly interested in both new and well-known sustainable alternatives for packaging and transport. Many major supermarket chains have introduced reusable nets over the past few months as alternatives to plastic bags in the fruit and vegetable department. Is this the only way for the food retailer?
Kiwi Media GmbH from Schallstadt near Freiburg in the Breisgau has been offering reusable bags that have already been tested in various Rewe stores. "The bags have quickly proven themselves in practice," says managing director Norman Killius. Fruit Logistica was a great way to make new contacts: "Fruit, vegetable and potato growers were particularly interested in our bags and nets, as the end consumers are also increasingly looking for more sustainable alternatives to plastic bags."
"We have been listed as a supplier to Rewe Dortmund for two years, and as an exhibitor we were able to attend Rewe in-house fairs and introduce our individually printed bags. We were able to talk to various owners, who were desperately looking for an alternative to the plastic bag they can offer their customers."
Killius then went searching for a solution and promptly found it: reusable bags made of the 'non-woven' material polypropylene. On the one hand, these bags are already free of harmful substances during production, compared to paper production, which involves a large amount of CO2 emissions. "On the other hand, the bags can be used multiple times and can even be washed by hand, they are easy to recycle and cost only about 25 cents apiece." The reusable bag thus positions itself as a low-priced alternative to mesh bags made of polyester or cotton.
"Two stores in the Dortmund area have already completely banned all plastic bags and have switched to our bags - these locations inform their customers what the bags are about, and have started campaigns and advertising on social media. This is how these products are gaining a wide acceptance by consumers."
Throughout Germany, there are reusable vegetable nets in Rewe branches. With this important change within the retail chain, there is currently no need to centralize the reusable bags from Kiwi Media, explains Killius. "However, we continue to serve a selection of owner-managed businesses from Rewe and Edeka and also want to convince direct marketers of our concept."
The bags are produced and printed in Asia and are then distributed by Kiwi Media GmbH to customers in Germany and abroad. "We are looking for the right producers in Asia and then go to the marketers themselves, without further intermediaries." In order to fully meet the needs of the partners, the company plans to expand its capacity this very year.