A TOP's team is always looking for unresolved packaging problems. A TOP develops sustainable and circular packaging innovations, especially for the fresh produce industry. The four-man team consists of two Dutch people, a Brit and a German who together have more than 100 years of experience in the packaging industry.
Adriaan Verbeek: "The growers are doing their best to cultivate a beautiful product, which deserves the most sustainable packaging. And I'm talking about packaging made from rPAPER. rPAPER is more durable than plastic variants such as PP, rPP, PET, or rPET and we support this with a Life Cycle Analysis that we can perform ourselves as a service. It is very important to always use the same system for this."
The top of the soft fruit packaging.
Last year, A TOP won a prestigious award. It received the ECMA Innovation Award for soft fruit packaging. "We developed this packaging together with our partner Twinkle and a grower. He said: "I don't care that it might be more expensive, but this deserves sustainable packaging”. Our soft fruit packaging has a specially designed bottom. It is a kind of mattress that is both shock and moisture-absorbing. As a result, no separate sheet is needed. This often makes the regular packaging not recyclable. Our packaging directly contributes to the objectives of the Plastic Pact."
This picture shows the breathable 'mattress' at the bottom of the soft fruit packaging.
Adriaan also talks about the packaging for snack tomatoes that A TOP has developed. “These have already been tested by interested franchisers in various stores. We placed our packaging next to the plastic buckets and looked at which packaging the average customer chose between the two. As it turned out, in 67% of cases the customer chose the most durable packaging without imprint." This snack tomato packaging can be filled automatically thanks to a collaboration with Koppert Machines.
The packaging for snack tomatoes.
He indicates that they are working on different projects. "We are working on a so-called top wrap, a paper packaging for 3 bell peppers. We make holes so that the product can breathe and is clearly visible." They are also busy developing home delivery packaging.
Adriaan Verbeek in the workshop he gave during the BioKennisWeek.
A TOP develops both generic and customer-specific products. This includes new packaging and technologies for food, drinks and non-food. “If we find a solution, we can also patent it. We have already achieved this with a number of packaging. The focus is on fresh produce. For example, we also develop packaging solutions for our customers' suppliers. We provide the ideas and concepts and they take care of the implementation."
Especially cardboard is a very important part of our product range at the moment. Is there any material they don't like to work with? "We know something about everything, except glass and tin. We know very little about this and therefore we don't try to look for solutions. We work according to a special business model. Because we understand multiple materials, we seek a solution that is out of the ordinary. And we take advantage of the overcapacity that exists in this industry. We are ready for packaging solutions that fit into the circular economy."
Co-founder Aad Hoekstra recently joined the Mpac program Adapt & Grow. Click here to watch this broadcast (takes about 20 minutes).
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