Groundwood pulp, corrugated and solid board, but wood as well: the changing packaging legislation for fruit and vegetables in many European countries is forcing the packaging industry to invest and innovate. "The trend is clearly moving away from plastic and towards biodegradable materials that are natural or at least look sustainable, even if it briefly gave a different impression during the coronavirus era. In my opinion, there will be no regression to classic plastic packaging. The wheel keeps turning and the Europe-wide requirements are in place accordingly," explains Lena Leithold-Kühling from Kühling Fruchthandel KG.
The Emstek-based packaging company's product range has adapted accordingly in recent years. Leithold-Kühling: "Groundwood trays and packaging made of cardboard and paper are at the forefront of our range. Not only on the trade fair shelves, but also in the sales figures. Unusual materials are constantly appearing on the market. In terms of price-performance ratio, however, classic materials such as molded fiber material (groundwood pulp), paper and corrugated cardboard are the most popular."
In addition to the new packaging line, Kühling will be presenting the Janny MT mini CA warehouses and the extensive range of agricultural nonwovens & films, load securing and harvesting equipment at expoSE.
Consequences of the pandemic and energy crisis
Due to the pandemic and energy crisis, the packaging industry has also seen some exciting years. "Initially, there was an increase in demand during the pandemic, as everyone wanted to make sure they had enough packaging in stock. Last year, as a result of the energy crisis, there were cost increases that were difficult to calculate and a noticeable slump in demand, especially as warehouses were still full. In the meantime, the production capacities of paper and cardboard manufacturers have been greatly expanded and the supply chains are functioning again, so that there is an increased supply and also a calculable demand again - harvesting and packaging is still taking place."
The increased production capacities also led to falling raw material prices for some items, the packaging expert continues. "We are seeing this trend for paper and cardboard in particular. We have the impression that demand is currently leveling off again, roughly at the pre-corona level. We want to increase our sales figures with our modern and constantly growing product range."
It's not just berries, fruit and asparagus that are fresh and newly packaged. Just in time for the trade fair, the company's homepage sports a new design.
Kühling Fruchthandel KG will be presenting its brand new product line for the first time at expoSE in Karlsruhe. "The line covers the entire range of packaging, from carrier bags, trays, baskets and crates to asparagus boxes and cartons. The design picks up on the trends of naturalness, minimalism but also freshness and boldness through color. Both classic and new packaging sizes and shapes have been incorporated. Above all, however, it is important that the packaging focuses on the contents, namely berries, fruit and vegetables, and positively emphasizes these great products."
Ms Leithold-Kühling emphasizes that the company can also be contacted for smaller order quantities or packaging with in-house printing. "We are particularly pleased that we have already received an international award for our new product line. Our new 1.5 kg asparagus carton received the Platinum Award as part of the European Carton Excellence Award. Feedback from customers to whom we have presented samples has also been very positive so far."
The shift from plastic packaging to sustainable packaging solutions will continue in the coming years. "Safe and unpackaged solutions are also an issue. However, we do not see this trend being feasible for sensitive products such as soft fruit, particularly in the food retail sector. In addition, the focus is still on protecting and presenting the goods. However, individuality and a professional appearance are also on trend," the company concludes.
Visit the company at expoSE 2023: Hall 2 / N04.
For more information:
Kühling Fruchthandel KG
Nord-Allee 11 - ecopark