Two years ago, Le Verger de la Blottière confirmed its commitment to reducing the use of plastic in its packaging. The Covid-19 crisis has not slowed this process down; quite the opposite. "Within the framework of our Demain La Terre certification, it is important for us to act as a responsible company. Responding to consumer trends, guaranteeing the values of our production and packaging practices and offering healthier and safer fruit to as many people as possible have always been part of the company's philosophy.
"The health crisis has in no way jeopardized our commitment. We remain focused on our objectives and this means thinking beyond the current context. This is an ambitious project that is being carried out over several years and for which we need to remain one step ahead," says Camille Marques, sales and marketing manager of the Le Verger de la Blottière group.
"We are increasing the number of eco-responsible solutions in terms of packaging"
Since 2018, the number of actions promoted by Le Verger de la Blottière in favor of responsible packaging has been increasing. "Our approach is to work on several solutions at the same time in order to eventually be able to offer a full range of products packed in a responsible manner. For the past year and a half, all of our bulk apples have been packaged in 100% recyclable packaging with cellulose cells. Since last year, our Antarès° apple is made to stand out with stickers and individual biodegradable bags. Also, this season we have started to offer apples packaged in 100% recyclable trays, with zero plastic, in 4 and 6 piece formats."
"When it comes to packaging, there is a challenge for every product"
Since 2012, the group has offered trays of pears ripened to perfection, which it supplies for 10 out of 12 months with two varieties. The development of this 100% cardboard tray was a major challenge: "The fruit is ripe and, by definition, fragile. It is therefore necessary to take into account the humidity of the product and avoid abrasive materials. This was a real challenge. Moreover, it is necessary to have good product visibility in order to make the fruit's condition visible and allow consumers to buy with peace of mind and the department manager to know when to remove the product from the shelf.
"We have been working for more than 2 years to find a solution for this product, given the great amount of plastic used for it. And since the beginning of October, we have been offering a 100% recyclable cardboard tray. We have made several prototypes with our supplier and tested several formats and types of openings with partner stores. We now sell the Verger de la Blottière branded tray in several stores and also on MMD. This tray will soon be used for our flagship pear Sweet Sensation°."
At the same time, Le Verger de la Blottière is working on a version of trayless - plastic films surrounding the apples - on a paper base. Furthermore, the tray suppliers chosen by the group are FSC certified. "Although it is difficult to control 100% of the entire life cycle of our product, we are committed to working with suppliers who share our environmental approach.