Tag Archives: packaging

M&S trials plastic-free produce

As part of efforts to reduce plastic in the supply chain, M&S is trialling its first plastic-free loose fruit and vegetable department at its Tolworth store.

As well as ditching the packaging, M&S has introduced trained greengrocers, who will be on hand to offer customers valuable advice as they select from two aisles of fruit and vegetables free of plastic packaging. The range not only includes hard fruit and veg like potatoes and bananas, but also more perishable items such as soft fruits and berries, which will be retailed in compostable punnets, and best before date labels have been removed.

Louise Nicholls, Head of Food Sustainability, said, “We’re proud to launch a series of market-leading initiatives to help our customers take home less plastic. “Our trial at Tolworth is an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey and bringing back the traditional greengrocer will play a key part in educating our customers. Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible insights from the Tolworth store trial.”

M&S has committed to launching additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable alternatives to plastic in every UK store, which could save 580 tonnes of plastic waste over two years alone. The plan will also involve replacing plastic produce bags with paper ones and phasing out plastic barcode stickers in favour of eco-friendly alternatives. M&S Senior Packaging Technologist Kevin Vyse spoke at the recent UK Brassica & Leafy Salad Conference which will be reported in the March issue of The Vegetable Farmer.

Photo Credit: M&S

The post M&S trials plastic-free produce appeared first on Hort News.

Oliver Kay expands sustainable packaging range

Cheshire-based wholesale greengrocer Oliver Kay Produce has announced that it is working with local company Re-Source to reduce food waste and is also working hard to reduce plastic food packaging.

The company claims it is the first wholesale greengrocer to swap from overwrapped polystyrene trays to compostable ‘Bagass Trays’ made from sugarcane pulp and supplied by Thompson Packaging. All plastic wrap now comes from 100 per cent recycled sources and is looking for a suitable compostable-substitute.

“We looked at moving to biodegradable packaging, but realised that to really make a difference, all of the packaging needed to be compostable,” explained Paul Leyland, Oliver Kay’s Commercial & Sustainability Director. Other sustainability improvements include replacing the plastic netting traditionally used for items such as citrus to one made from certified beech wood fibre.

Oliver Kay delivers to approximately 3,500 catering establishments six days a week. “A business of this type and size obviously generates an amount of waste in the form of packaging and food waste,” added Paul. “We are buying roughly 800 nets of lemons each day, 320 trays of chillies each day, and through our strict quality standards and prep department we are producing approximately 2.5 tonnes of food waste each day.”

Working with Re-Source the business has introduced a screw press system to remove water from left over fruit and vegetable waste, reducing the total density of the waste by 90 per cent. This is then composted, and taken back for use by the farmers who supply the business.

Director Paul Leyland

Credit for images: Oliver Kay Produce

The post Oliver Kay expands sustainable packaging range appeared first on Hort News.

Greengrocers benefit from plastics backlash

Greengrocers and wholesalers say that they are benefitting as consumers shun plastics and packaging following the television series Blue Planet II.

According to reports, so-called millennials are looking for more sustainably produced produce and want more information about what they are buying. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in millennials coming to buy fruit and veg at the market,” said David Matchett, development manager at Borough Market in London. “They want to connect with their food and see where it comes from – greengrocers and markets can help with that. Millennials are interested in different sustainable diets so they come to ask our traders about it and can get informed. They really care about climate change and come here because we use minimal packaging.

“Food of a higher value is appreciated by this generation who are becoming more aware – you need personal contact with people who know about the food at the greengrocers or the market.”

Greengrocer Grant Fox, of Seasons of England, said, “We have loads of young customers. I would say (millennials) care about seasonal produce and their carbon footprint. 90 per cent of our plants aren’t wrapped in plastic – they’re all loose.”

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The post Greengrocers benefit from plastics backlash appeared first on Hort News.

MPs debate plastics use on fresh produce

The House of Commons debated whether supermarkets should have to offer fruit and vegetables which are not wrapped in plastic, following an online petition which managed to gain 123,000 signatures.

Under the rules of the Government’s petition, any campaign which achieves more than 100,000 signatures is eligible for debate by MPs. The debate was opened by Steve Double MP, a member of the Petitions Committee.

Prior to the debate, the Government had responded to the petition saying, ‘We are working with retailers and the Waste and Resources Action Programme to explore the potential for the introduction of plastic-free initiatives in supermarkets in which fresh food is sold loose, adding, ‘Packaging has an important and positive role to play in reducing product damage, increasing shelf-life, and reducing food waste.’

However, during the debate, Sandy Martin MP argued that plastic packaging could be counterproductive: “Plastic packaging on fresh fruit and vegetables may contribute to food waste: by offering a fixed packaged quantity, people may be induced to buy more than they need, as the hon. Member for Henley mentioned. Also, the amount of waste may be disguised. Rather than damaged food being thrown away by the supermarket, the customer may well find damaged fruit or vegetables inside the plastic packaging and then throw them away in the household. Also, I question whether most fresh fruit and vegetables are given an enhanced shelf life by being wrapped in plastic.​”

Photo Credit: Wikipedia The post MPs debate plastics use on fresh produce appeared first on Hort News.

Attitudes to plastic affecting produce sales

According to a new survey of smaller retailers by card payment services company Payment Sense, sales of goods packaged in plastic, and fruit and vegetables in particular, have declined over the last six months.

The move comes as consumers have become increasingly concerned by the environmental effects of plastic waste around the world, which have been highlighted by the BBC’s Blue Planet and forthcoming Drowning in Plastic programmes.

More than half of the 291 retailers surveyed (54 per cent) in July 2018 said that they had seen a fall in sales, with fruit juice and bottled water sales also suffering. Almost half (49 per cent) of the retailers surveyed also said more customers had requested products without packaging over the last six months.

Guy Moreve, chief marketing officer at Payment Sense, said, “Our study shows how changing consumer behaviour is starting to have an impact on the UK’s small retailers… Movements like the UK Plastics Pact are really gaining traction, as businesses and industry work towards a more circular approach to protect the environment.”

Photo Caption: Small retailers say that consumers are shunning fruit and veg wrapped in plastic.

Photo Credit: pxhere

The post Attitudes to plastic affecting produce sales appeared first on Hort News on 26 September 2018.

Waitrose unveils packaging made from tomatoes

Supermarket Waitrose is introducing punnets made from tomato vines for its range of Duchy Organic tomatoes.

The punnets are made from a mixture of dried tomato vines and recycled cardboard and are being rolled out nationally following a successful trial in 2017. The first product will be Waitrose Duchy cherry tomatoes on the vine in mid June, with the remaining four lines in the new brown packaging from the end of July.

According to Waitrose, the cutting-edge packaging is widely recyclable and replaces the original plastic punnets the tomatoes were in. As well as reducing plastic it also provides a use for the tomato vines which were previously treated as waste.

Nicola Waller, Head of Fresh Produce at Waitrose, commented, “We’re serious about looking for alternative packaging materials. This uses materials which would otherwise be wasted which can only be a good thing. ‘We will also ensure that all our own-label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2025 – and looking for alternative forms of packaging is part of this process.”

Waitrose recently introduced packaging for Red Lentil Pasta and Green Pea Pasta which is partly made from pulses.

Photo Credit: Waitrose

The post Waitrose unveils packaging made from tomatoes appeared first on Hort News on 7 June 2018.

Berry Gardens to use shelf life technology

Berry and stone fruit marketing organisation Berry Gardens has signed an arrangement with technology company Anacail to exclusively use their ozone technology for berries, cherries and plums in the UK.

Berry Gardens CEO, Jacqui Green, said, “This technology is game changing in our industry, using ozone, a proven sterilant, to reduce the presence of yeasts and moulds. This means extended shelf life, reduced waste and a better product for our consumer. We are thrilled to be working with Anacail and our businesses are closely aligned in our ambition to ensure the best berries, cherries and plums are available to our consumers across the breadth of the retail sector.”

Anacail, which is a venture capital backed SME spin-out from the Astrophysics Department at Glasgow University, specialises in creating and handling ozone in revolutionary, safe and flexible ways. Its key technology allows the generation of ozone (an activated form of oxygen), inside sealed packages, without damaging or opening the package.

Anacail’s CEO, Ian Muirhead commented, “We are delighted to sign this collaboration with Berry Gardens, a major player and leading innovator in their sector.  It is a major milestone for Anacail in bringing our innovative technology to market.”

Photo Caption: Anacail’s F-LC2-250 in-pack ozone machine.

Photo Credit: Anacail Ltd

The post Berry Gardens to use shelf life technology appeared first on Hort News.

New standard for cardboard produce packaging

A new European-wide packaging standard for corrugated packaging aims to ensure standards for stackable, top quality, fit-for-purpose corrugated card.

The Common Footprint Quality (CFQ) says certified trays will deliver the protection needed by delicate fruit and vegetables, giving growers and retailers assurance that their fresh produce will arrive in store in optimum condition every time.

CFQ builds on the FEFCO Common Footprint (CF), which harmonises tabs and noses of corrugated trays throughout Europe. CF guarantees the stackability that allows growers and retailers to handle transport of fruit and vegetables efficiently; the Q promises quality and strength.

In the UK, packaging manufacturer DS Smith has said that all its packaging will meet the new standard. ‘DS Smith has been working in close collaboration with the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) on the introduction of the new Common Footprint Quality (CFQ) standard in the UK,’ the company said in a statement.

Mick Thornton, Sales and Marketing Director of DS Smith’s UK Packaging Division said: “We are proud to be a lead player in the integration of this new quality standard to the UK. Corrugated packaging is ideally suited to the fresh produce industry as it can offer the cushioning, ventilation, strength, moisture resistance and protection that growers, packers and retailers are looking for. Our customers can have the utmost confidence that their products will arrive safely at their destination and the standardisation of products will bring benefits and efficiencies to the entire supply chain.”

Photo Credit: DS Smith

The post New standard for cardboard produce packaging appeared first on Hort News

New technology could cut strawberry waste

A new filter which absorbs and locks in ethylene in enclosed spaces, such as retail packaging, could revolutionise the shelf life of fresh produce according to the company behind it.

Figures from tech company It’s Fresh! claim their filter inserts are now saving 1,134 tonnes of strawberries each year; the equivalent of almost three million punnets, or forty times the number of strawberries eaten at Wimbledon every summer. The green and white stripy filters are now being used by supermarkets including M&S, Morrisons, and Waitrose.

Simon Lee, co-founder of It’s Fresh! said, “Wasting food really does waste everything – Water, labour, energy, time and money. Many of us know that over a third of the food produced globally gets wasted, but what you might not know is that it takes almost half a gallon of water to grow one strawberry, add to that the labour & fuel to pick, pack, ship and process it for retail merchandising ….and you can begin to see the scale of the problem that we face.”

Photo Credit: It’s Fresh!

The post New technology could cut strawberry waste appeared first on Hort News.

Sainsbury’s introduces anti-greening pack for potatoes

As part of its ‘Save Our Spuds’ campaign, Sainsbury’s has introduced new packaging which will prevent potatoes from going green and developing a bitter taste. Designed to be 100% opaque – whilst still breathable – the new packaging prevents any light from reaching the produce, the most common culprit for greening.

The green discolouration develops thanks to a build-up of solanine which is triggered by too much light. The retailer estimates that this is responsible for the wasting of 5.8 million potatoes every day.

Jane Skelton, Head of Packaging for Sainsbury’s, commented, “Potatoes are a British favourite. But exposure to sunlight means many of our spuds never make it to the table. That’s why we’re calling ‘lights out’ in our latest effort to help tackle food waste. We’re confident that this will improve the shelf-life of our potatoes and, while the packaging might be opaque, we’re hoping the results will be clear to see.”

The new packaging will be rolled out across Sainsbury’s stores, across King Edwards and Lady Balfour potatoes – two varieties which are most susceptible to greening. The retailer continues to recommend that all potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place.

Photo Caption: Lady Balfour and King Edwards will be the first to benefit from the new packaging

This story first appeared on HortNews.