Oberkich fruit trading company Eckenfels is on the verge of a new milestone in the company's history. Starting in March, the fruit trader and service provider will pack its pome fruit in a sealable foodtainer tray made entirely of paper. This step is part of a long-term sustainability strategy in the packaging sector, confirms Martin Eckenfels, authorised signatory and plant manager, on request.
"Especially with regard to the development of the market and to protect the environment, we are always looking for innovations and improvements. With this new type of packaging, our company is taking a step further into the future," explains Mr. Eckenfels. There will be a 4 and 6 version of the new concept and the trays can be printed according to the individual wishes of the respective customer.
The new fruit punnet of the Eckenfels company.
Implementing the needs of the food retail trade together
Similar packaging solutions have been on the market for some time, but the existing concepts have not yet convinced the Eckenfels company because the risk of injury to the fruit is too great. For this reason, the Eckenfels company has developed its own cardboard tray, which is expected to be ready for operation "early to mid-March". In any case, inquiries have been received, so according to the company, sales are already secured.
The traditional Eckenfels company is an important trader and service provider in the field of top fruit as well as soft and stone fruit. At the main location in Oberkirch, overseas apples are packed on behalf of various customers as well as the nearby fruit wholesale market Mittelbaden (OGM). "We will now start with apples and wait for the customer's response. After that it would also be a good idea to put premium oranges on these trys. In any case, we will talk to the retailers and implement their wishes together," says Eckenfels.
Pioneer in sustainable product packaging
In the Oberkirch packing station, sustainable packaging wishes were put into practice at an early stage, confirms Mr. Eckenfels. "About seven years ago we switched from standard stretch films to PVC-free shrink films, which were new at the time. In the top fruit sector, we have made an extreme switch to cardboard, especially in the last two years."
In other areas, too, the issue of sustainability was nevertheless recognised early on. Eckenfels: "We rely on cardboard trays made of recycled cardboard. Eckenfels Fruchthandel was the first to introduce the 1kg cardboard trays for strawberries into the German food retail market. In the meantime, this packaging solution has become an integral part of the product range. The company received the Strawberry Award for this in 2012.
Even after 100 years of innovation
This year, the Baden-based company is celebrating its 100th birthday: The aim is to continue to follow the packaging trend at close quarters in the coming years. "Last year we decided to use Topseal in the soft fruit sector, because this leads to a 40% saving in plastic compared to the tried and tested flow packs. As a modern service provider to the food retail trade, we are well positioned and now have two Topseal lines in operation so that we can meet all the guidelines", Eckenfels concludes.
For more information:
Franz Eckenfels Fruchthandel GmbH
Sankt Urban Straße 1
D-77704 Oberkirch Tiergarten
Tel +49 (0)7802 704369-0
Fax +49 (0)7802 704369-9