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Landpack GmbH: pioneer in packaging made of hemp and straw

Germany: “Younger generation prefers ecological packaging”

Today sustainability, a rural appeal and of course appearance are the most important requirements in the food sector. This does not only apply to the products, but also to their packaging. The Landpack GmbH company from Puchheim started operating in this area in 2013, but is currently known all over Europe for its unique packaging solutions made of compostable hemp and straw. And according to managing director Thomas Maier-Eschenlohr, the demand is rising at a rapid pace.

The day-to-day business of Landpack GmbH is characterized by two product lines. The company started with straw insulation materials, but in the meantime hemp products have also become a constant focus of the customers. “Hemp is not as visually striking as straw. With straw you have an association with rural life or sustainability. The choice is therefore a matter of taste. Where the major customers are more likely to choose hemp, customers who are not involved in big volume business, such as farm shops and butchers, are more likely to go for straw packaging. Appearances are very important for this last customer group. Especially the young people or Generation Y and Z insist on ecological packaging.”

Managing Director Thomas Maier-Eschenlohr in the field

Shopping experience
Maier claims that in many cases the images on the Internet do not match the actual packaging. Fresh, rural products are actually packed in plastic wrap when sent to the customer. “There is a disconnect in this communication. 36 percent of online shoppers will only order if the packaging is environmentally friendly. That is a large percentage. Our advantage is that the shopping experience is reflected in the packaging. People will see the straw and that makes it very tangible. In addition to this, we also tweak the pictures to reinforce this effect.” Among other things, the background of the website corresponds to the expectations of the customers.

Both product lines are basically heat-absorbing or insulating and also have excellent shock absorption. Maier: "Of course, this is a big problem, especially in the fruit and vegetable sector. This is where products are sent that are almost ready to eat and have various humidity and maturing levels. It helps a lot to work with flexible and moisture-modulating biomaterials.” Furthermore, Landpack is able to respond to individual customer needs. Maier gives an example concerning customers with a mixed shopping cart. “Chilled or very delicate products such as avocados are packed in hemp bags and sent together with other products in one single box. For specialized customers, we can adjust packaging exactly as desired.”

Nowadays the two main products already mentioned, as well as other Landpack packaging solutions, are delivered throughout all of Europe. It only took four years for the start-up to become a market leader. From the beginning, the company has managed to offer a compostable, lower-energy packaging solution for 'conventional' prices. Of course, customers are doing their own calculations. These have to come out in favour of the Landpack solutions, and this they do. Because of this, there are no clear arguments against the Landpack approach. In the initial phase it was difficult to gain the customers’ trust, but once that was achieved, relationships are proving to be good and long lasting.

Fair customer service
Landpack GmbH is now known throughout the industry for its customised, customer-driven service, as well as for the monitoring of the processes. The company is not only concerned with the production of insulating materials, but also with mechanical and plant engineering. For this purpose, Maier has joind forces with an engineering firm that takes care of large-scale manufacturing aspects. About 80 percent of the 20 employees are academics, as is the managing director himself (a doctor in mechanical engineering). Landpack GmbH is also cooperating with Klingele Papierwerke in order to pool their customers and to be able to offer an all-encompassing packaging option.

However, the main focus of the company is first and foremost a personalised, but above all fair customer service. Although cooling elements, automation and air conditioned spaces are available, the customer is always free to decide for something else. “I'm the last person to recommend our packaging options to the customer if that's not the right solution. If there is a solution that makes more sense, we say so.” Future challenges of this start-up are to be found more in the area of further growth, says to Maier. “We want to maintain high quality standards despite all the growth.”

For more information:
Landpack GmbH 
Geschäftsführer: Thomas Maier-Eschenlohr
Steinlacher Weg 1
82239 Alling
+49 (0)176 23555454