Earlier this year IPL changed the packaging format of their Garden Gang Pears from a punnet to a fully recyclable, low density polyethylene (LDPE) bag, saving 27 tonnes plastic and removing over 1.5 m units of packaging.
IPL is owned by and supply Asda exclusively, the focus of the company is to simplify the supply chain reducing cost which can be passed on to the Asda customer.
To support Asda’s commitment to reduce the use of plastic in the business, IPL aims to remove 350 tonnes and 200 million units of plastic from their packaging in 2021. “We plan to extend this packaging to our Conference pears later in 2021 to deliver a further 170 tonne reduction,” explains Paul Rogan, Packaging Analyst at IPL.
Feedback on the new packaging
“We began with a trial in around 80 of our stores in Q4 last year and we have continued to receive positive praise from our customers and colleagues”
There have also been positive reactions to the new packaging via social media.
The issue of food waste is always important when trying to reduce packaging, plastic trays give sensitive products a lot of protection during transit and on the shelves. Paul said that this one of the major reasons for the trial last year, to test if there would be an increase in damage/waste when using bags, and this proved not to be the case.
“There will be approx. 12 weeks of the year where we expect the fruit to be more susceptible to damage (stored crop towards end of season), and we have taken steps to address this. During the period when fruit is more sensitive, we will pack into a pulp tray and flow wrap it. This will mean fruits are manually packed into the trays, reducing the impact from mechanical packing.
IPL have removed over 1600 tonnes of plastic from Asda fresh produce over the last 3 years, and plan to reduce a further 350 tonnes this year.
“The Garden Gang pear pack shares its punnet with a conference pear 4 pack. After some machinery/line modifications at our packing site in Kent, we will also be switching the conference pears to bags, saving a further 170 Tonnes of plastic. Some other recent examples include removing the plastic trays from baby corn and asparagus tips, reducing gauge on punnets for grapes and tomatoes, and removing plastic forks from “on the go” salads.”
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