Natasha Shields, owner of Peninsula Fresh Organics, has been looking into alternatives to plastic packaging on fruit and vegetable products, such as bioplastics and misting systems in supermarkets. She has been an organic vegetable grower alongside her husband, Wayne, for over 10 years. The pair run Peninsula Fresh Organics, located in Baxter on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Peninsula Fresh Organics supplies two supermarket chains and wholesale markets in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, which has created a ‘plastic problem’ for Natasha and Wayne.
“A requirement of the supermarkets and some of the wholesale retail stores, is that our organic produce is placed in a plastic sleeve/bag – usually with a barcode, so that it can be scanned at the register to get the correct price,” Natasha says.
In March 2021, Natasha released a report that looked at finding alternatives to traditional plastic packaging for fresh food producers available in the global market. This focused on sustainability, affordability while ensuring food safety, and how friendly it is for the environment.
In her report, Natasha outlines five examples of new technologies that are currently available in the global market as alternatives to traditional plastic packaging. But further research is needed to better understand the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions and short- and long-term future preferences for wrapped or packaged food for fresh produce.