Sustainable packaging is a recurring theme in the fruit and vegetable industry. It is impossible to imagine this day and age without it. In the fruit and vegetable sector in particular, many packaging materials are still used to protect products, extend shelf life, bundle or for marketing purposes. "In most cases packaging remains, quite simply, necessary, as it is with pomelo. But can it also be done more sustainably?" This is what Shen Liu, Innovation Manager at Yex, wondered.
Sustainability in steps
"Sustainability is such an all-encompassing word. Many companies find it difficult to start making their packaging more sustainable. We also had this problem at Yex. That is why we have carefully looked at the requirements of EU legislation, the KIDV, GroentenFruit Huis and of course our customers. From this we have made a step-by-step plan and policy for ourselves for 2025, in order to package as sustainably as possible. This suddenly makes it much more manageable."
Ask for sustainable packaging pomelo
The pomelo has been a popular product for many years, especially in Germany. The popularity for this citrus fruit is also growing rapidly in the Netherlands. With the growth in popularity, the number of questions about pomelo packaging also increased. This consists of a net, a plastic foil, a banderole and often a label. We were regularly asked whether we could reduce the amount of packaging and increase its sustainability.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
At Yex, Shen Liu, together with the supplier, started to make the pomelo packaging more sustainable. "It was quite a challenge, because pomelo packaging has always been like this. Each part did have a function. We looked at the basic elements of the packaging and optimised the packaging by means of the "reduce, reuse and recycle" principle."
50% lighter, disposable in one go and not more expensive
The new packaging is now available from Yex, next to the conventional packaging. "We don't want to go all-out in one go, because some customers also still value the old packaging. Logically, sustainability sometimes must be done in stages. However, the new packaging is 50% lighter, can be thrown away in one go and is not more expensive. The packaging states that the foil is protective, so necessary for the shelf life. With this we want to inform and make consumers aware. So, it is better in many ways. If this season goes well, we will switch 100% to this packaging next year," said Shen.
Taking a critical look at all fruit and vegetable packaging
"This is what I want to pass on to all companies in the fruit and vegetable sector: Sustainable packaging does not have to be brought about in one go; it can be done in stages. Because the pomelo packaging can be even more sustainable, for example by using bio-plastics as input. So, take a critical look at all packaging in your portfolio and try to look carefully at how you can make it more sustainable step by step." Together we can make the world a little more sustainable every day...
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