The demand for sustainable packaging solutions has been rising over the years, being driven by many factors. While the initial outbreak of the pandemic put this demand on hold for a moment, Mike Keegan of Sambrailo Packaging says that this was only a brief pause and demand has returned to its normal upward trend.
100% recyclable packaging
Sambrailo Packaging offers a large variety of packaging options, but they are most widely known for their ReadyCycle packaging. The ReadyCycle packaging line is made of corrugated E flute paper and is 100% recycle ready. “Many of the current packaging options that are popular for fruits and vegetables rely heavily on plastic, so we wanted to provide an alternative option with this packaging line. By using corrugated paper instead of plastic, we can heavily reduce the amount of plastic within the recycling infrastructure,” Keegan explains. In addition to being constructed from corrugated paper, the ReadyCycle is also made with vegetable-based ink and a water-based coating, ensuring that the packaging is truly 100% recycle ready.
One of the reasons that plastic has become so widely used in packaging is because of its ability to protect produce and help elongate the product’s shelf-life. With the ReadyCycle packaging, however, the ability to fully customize the packaging ensures that it will provide the best protection and shelf-life for the product inside. “Depending on the fruit or vegetable you are looking to package, we’ll adjust the venting patterns in the packaging, adjusting them to allow the optimal amount of air flow.”
Besides the adjustable ventilation of ReadyCycle, the customer also has complete control over the design of the packaging, with regard to sizing and product visibility. “We can add more or less visibility of the product, depending on what the customer wants. It is a bit of a balancing act, of course, with the design and ensuring that the packaging helps maintain the integrity and security of the product,” says Keegan.
In addition to being fully recyclable, the packaging is also fully marketable. “It’s a piece of real estate to design whatever the customer wants on it,” Keegan says. Each piece of the package can be used for printing so there is much more opportunity to display your brand on the ReadyCycle packaging than there is on the plastic packaging that only has a small label at the top where you can display your brand. We have a complete team of graphic designers to conduct any design the customer wants so this packaging is very marketable.”
Consumer demand continues to grow
While the pandemic slowed down the demand for sustainable packaging slightly, this was only a small speedbump in the road, according to Keegan. “We hit a slight period of pause due to the overall uncertainties throughout the supply chain, but we quickly realized that there was less impact than we had initially expected. We’ve actually seen great growth this year, which is independent of the pandemic, it’s just a continuation of the exponential year-over-year growth we have been seeing since the product was launched four years ago,” he says.
According to Keegan, the demand for the packaging comes from multiple directions. “There are growers who want to use ReadyCycle to differentiate their brand, and then there are retailers who are demanding it for their consumer base. Then there’s also the consumers themselves who are demanding sustainable packaging solutions. There’s a lot of consumer research that has found that consumers are willing to pay extra for a product that uses sustainable packaging, so this helps retailers not only offset their investment, but often they’re able to recover more than 100% of their investment, even making some profit off the added value of the packaging,” Keegan concludes.