As the South African citrus season is starting to wind down and the table grape and stone fruit harvests are nearing, the need for recyclable and sustainable labels that allow PET punnets to be 100% recyclable has increased substantially.
According to Jason van Tonder, from Redfern, South Africa’s leading supplier of labels for the fresh produce industry: “We have partnered with the leading chain stores in Europe via the growers and exporters to meet their labelling requirements. One of those we are deeply passionate about is the Recyclability and Sustainability of our labels. We have identified a growing demand for this cutting edge technology within the global agricultural sector.”
“We have for the past two years, as one of the very first companies in South Africa, been able to supply labels with the specialised adhesive applied to the label. During recycling this adhesive allows the label to be separated allowing the PET punnet to be 100% recycled. We’ve seen some of South Africa’s key export markets ask the producers and exporters about the new labels. While we have been able to offer it for the past two seasons, there was at first a general lack of understanding of what it is. Enquiries were coming in but the market was not ready to move over to the use of the new labels.
"This understanding has gradually increased. In this coming 2022/20223 season, the majority of our clients are going over to specialised adhesive labels. There is a better understanding and demand for it. It is also the way the markets are going. It’s going to become a standard, we would not be able to supply anything else. At Redfern we try and be ahead of the market and trends,” explains van Tonder.
The company has a proud track record of over 30 years of service by not only supplying labels. Redfern supports and services clients, be it with hardware or software. They operate in major production regions, in the Northern Cape with table grapes and citrus, the Eastern Cape with citrus, in the Western Cape with table grapes, apples, pears and citrus and in Namibia, where they grow mainly table grapes and a little bit of blueberries.
“We are privileged to be able to supply hundreds of millions of labels globally each season. Our offering is that of a wide range of different types of labels. Redfern supplies the SA table grapes industry, which is one of the more intense industries we are able to supply and service. We not only service this industry, we are very fortunate and blessed to supply different commodities over a 12 month period. This includes the citrus, apples and pears and even some subtropical fruit like avocados. The apples and pears from South Africa keep us busy for 11 months of the year. The table grapes industries of South Africa and Namibia keeps us busy for 6 months of the year,” explains van Tonder.
“Our business model is built around our clients needs. We always look at how to add value to their business. In addition to labels we provide dedicated support during the harvest season. This includes support of the label printers that we supply our clients. We have a deal where the business is ours while we provide the value added service.
"During packing season an accurate number of label printers are allocated to the site where printing on site in the pack houses is needed. We also supply the software such as Bartender, which is basic but prints to their requirements. What sets us apart is, we offer 24/7 support. We understand that our clients pack every day, so we have a dedicated technical team in the different regions who are available over public holidays, Christmas and the New Year’s period.”
Redfern holds several accreditations such as BRC, ISO and FSC, allowing for the full traceability of their labels. “We are able to trace from as far back as to the forest to factory to farmer to store shelves. The leading global table grape cultivar owners also rely on our database for pallet ID’s. The information is kept on our database. Through our powerful database we print a number range for our clients and we are able to track the range to ensure no duplicates. It keeps track of the batches required by our clients. This is another value add, which we’ve been doing for 15-20 years,” van Tonder concludes.