Yukon International, an exporter of specialised fresh produce from South Africa to the European and Middle Eastern markets, has announced it is moving its product range to solid cardboard punnets.
“Our journey started in 2019 when we committed ourselves to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals towards plastic reduction. Our in-house team set out to find sustainable and recyclable packaging materials without compromising on our reliability, product quality, shelf-life, or food safety,” says Calle Badenhorst, head of the Paarl-based exporter.
Yukon International has reduced its plastic use by 90% (photo supplied by Yukon International)
“As far as we are aware, we are one of the first companies in South Africa to successfully develop a solid cardboard punnet for the baby veg export market.”
This transition to cardboard has reduced their plastic components by 90%.
“After extensive in-house trials, numerous sample tests across the globe in conjunction with our customers, and a semi-commercial roll-out earlier this year, we were finally confident that we had a punnet that maintained its shape and protected the product effectively,” Calle adds. “Our solution also helps our customers to, in turn, deliver on their promises and commitments for sustainability and corporate stewardship. It is a win-win situation for everyone including consumers and the planet.”
The punnets are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified and are wrapped in a recyclable modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) bag, which improves shelf life and reduces wastage.
“We are proud of this significant achievement and continue to work with our customers to improve our products, materials, and customer experience,” he remarks.