"In Italy, there are only a few trailblazers opting for totally plastic-free packaging. By contrast, from abroad, requests are many and for a wide variety of products. It is a pity that many Italian operators are still standing by, watching. And it is not merely an economic issue because price increases are affecting all companies," says Serena Ruppi, Ceo of Kuku International Packaging, when referring to the broader distribution of natural fiber-based materials. In fact, the company has been researching alternative materials to plastic for more than three years now.
"In Italy, we are behind, and change is less easily embraced. But pioneers like Massimo Malagrinò, sales director of Ortofrutta Malagrinò, give us hope," continues Ruppi. "In our country, it is young companies and open minds that make the difference. Sooner or later, even in Italy, the large-scale retail sector will be dictating even more sustainable choices. There are those who are prepared, like Malagrinò, despite the fact that leading the way is the hardest thing. Being able to do it in southern Italy is twice as incentivizing and a source of pride."
"To say no regardless is a mistake, as is waiting for the gradual phase-out of plastic to be mandatory by law. There is research and interest from fruit and vegetable operators abroad, and not only in France, where the AGEC law is already in place. It is the companies themselves that are preparing for the change," explains Ruppi, "We are aware that there is still a long way to go, but the interest shown in our types of packaging is quite positive. People have realized the meaning of what we do. Above all, what has been understood, first by customers and then by consumers, is that we are not talking about processed and compostable plastics or alternative materials to plastic, but rather natural fibers, that is, materials of plant origin. And this gives us a feeling that we are on the right track."
"Our alternative materials to plastic, made of natural fibers, can be used on all existing machines and are able to adapt to a wide variety of packaging. We are working on several experimental requests, and new tests are planned soon. If they yield the desired outcome, we will be ready to launch a new product next year," concluded Ruppi.
Kuku International Packaging has exhibited at several fruit and vegetable fairs this year. The latest was Fruit Attraction, where the feedback was very positive. Expectations for the next edition of Fruit Logistica are perhaps even higher.