BerryWorld® continues to take steps to minimise their environmental impact. Conscious of their role in the supply chain and their wider role in society, the business is leading several innovation projects to ensure UK berries are sustainably grown and packed for generations to come.
“Our position within the supply chain is key to support growers so that they can continue to grow berries sustainably whilst we continue to meet our customer needs, through constant adaption and evolution”, says Wickus Olivier, Operations Director at BerryWorld UK.
In 2020, BerryWorld UK became the first berry supplier to introduce berry packaging made from Prevented Ocean Plastic after partnering with Sharpak, and Bantam Materials International who have supplied the recycling of over 10 billion bottles to date from developing communities into high quality products.
Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials the supplier of Prevented Ocean Plastic, said: “We developed Prevented Ocean Plastic to be part of the solution to ocean plastic pollution and are delighted to be working with BerryWorld to offer its customers a better plastic choice. By choosing products made from recycled content it ensures recycling has already happened and use of new plastic has been reduced.”
Prevented Ocean Plastic is high quality, certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. It meets regulatory health and safety standards and is traceable back to source. The Prevented Ocean Plastic programme ensures waste plastic is captured and reused as part of the circular economy. This has a positive environmental impact, by significantly reducing the amount of plastic going into the oceans, and thereby reducing harm to marine life, and by mitigating greenhouse gases through recycling existing waste plastic instead of making new plastic.
After having extensively trialed Prevented Ocean Plastic last year, BerryWorld UK will now be packing its British berries, own-label and BerryWorld brand, using this sustainable packaging this year. “Prevented Ocean Plastic punnets have a minimum of 80 per cent recycled content, going up to 90 per cent. By moving our British soft fruit supply to this packaging this season, we aim to prevent 222 tonnes of plastic from entering the ocean, equivalent to 8.9 m water bottles,” says Wickus Olivier, Operations Director at BerryWorld UK.
BerryWorld is also trialing several automation options in 2021, given challenges around labour, to ensure soft fruit growing continues to be a sustainable activity for BerryWorld growers. Two packhouse trials will come into fruition in May, including medium and large capacity throughput ‘Pick and Place’ robots, which will be tested with the objective of increasing automation.
“At BerryWorld, we are proud to be innovation-led and we will continue to keep an eye out for the latest innovations in the industry, to make sure our berries are always bursting with berry goodness, meaning sustainably grown and packed for the best flavour,” says Olivier.