Consumer demand for sustainable fresh produce packaging and healthy eating choices were the driving forces behind Visy's new fibre punnets.
National Account Manager, Jamie O'Dell says the Enviropunnet™ is a sustainable, recyclable and market appealing option for packing fresh produce, and offers a recyclable option that is environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable.
"This means they can be put back through the recycling stream and into Visy's pulp processing plant and made back into paper," he said. "It’s all a part of Visy’s closed-loop solution. Visy has a long history in supplying innovative packaging solutions for the fruit and vegetable industry - and we’ve always been involved in innovating and using technology to help our customers develop what’s next. Extensive testing of the design and market use has highlighted the many benefits and potential uses for this packaging product.”
The packaging is manufactured from fibre material, including paper sourced from Visy's own FSC® (FSC C008345) certified paper, and Mr O'Dell says the fibre punnet packaging is erected by a machine solution and nested in a stackable format. So, it can fit seamlessly into many existing supply chains.
"The Enviropunnet™ can be tailored by Visy to suit most fresh produce types - we'll cater the design to suit the application," Mr O'Dell said. "In fact, Visy has a myriad of concepts in the fruit and vegetable space that are widely recyclable and environmentally friendly. At the moment we’re working on larger formats for fibre punnets, up to one-kilogram capacity. Our packaging solutions are completely designed around our customers’ needs. We start any conversation with a new customer with a discussion around their needs and aspirations. From there, we’re able to design or tailor the right sustainable solution by drawing on our large range of products, services and technologies."
He added that the end-users and the community are a driving force behind the market changes as consumers demand more sustainable packaging options.
"Recent research done by one of the large retailers showed 70 per cent of consumers wanted sustainable packaging choices," Mr O'Dell said "That was in the midst of the first few months of COVID - so, sustainability is still front and centre as an issue. To me, this movement runs parallel to the positive shifting trends towards increasingly healthy eating choices. People want to make better decisions for their families’ health and future – leading to an uptick in the purchase of fresh produce. This, in turn, is driving an added focus on the packaging of the fruit and vegetable sector delivers their fresh produce in. And this is where the Enviropunnet™ is coming in. These locally made fibre punnets are the ideal solution for a speed to market product that can also be branded to be visually appealing when displayed in-store."
While the sustainability angle is a big driver to the fibre punnet, Mr O'Dell says that more advantages have come to light during the trials that have been conducted.
"There are multiple benefits, for example, because of the format of the pack there are a lot more print options," he said. "The packs can be custom printed and this opens a lot of doors for branding and consumer engagement. Even little things like being able to print the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) logo on the packs – that provides the consumers in-store with a really easily identifiable link – it’s like a green light for them – here’s an environmentally friendly package."
With increased hygiene sensitivities in the community, especially at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Visy says consumers in-store like the fact that the produce has not been handled by other consumers.
"Many consumers prefer to buy their fruit and produce pre-packed. It’s faster for a start," Mr O'Dell said. "We can include Visy Connect tamper-proof technology to even further protect the produce, providing consumers with even greater confidence. The packs also cut down on produce being damaged in store – I think we can probably all relate to picking a loose apple off a pile and inadvertently dislodging a few on to the floor. Pre-packed options help negate that damage."