Talking about being sustainable is starting to give way to acting sustainable. Produce marketers are rising to the top when it comes to sustainable packaging solutions.

There are a couple of clear themes emerging in produce packaging globally and they are starting to turn up in New Zealand. The classic clamshell punnet has seemed unshakable as the staple of pack types for the smaller loose product like berries and tomatoes – but the ground is starting to shift.

By converting from a traditional punnet to a top sealed tray, packers and marketers are seeing up to a 50% reduction in weight of material used in packing their produce. “This goes a long way to reducing non-renewable inputs and when coupled with using a recycled PET or compostable plastics we start to see some really important shifts in the way we steward our products through the value chain,” said Ann Cameron, Sales Manager Consumables for Jenkins Freshpac Systems.

Another shift bubbling away and gathering steam is in compostable fibre trays. Made from fully renewable and sustainably sourced fibre these trays not only scream sustainability to the consumer, they will break down in the home compost in 90 days. “the idea of supplying someone with a product that will make zero contribution to landfill is pretty cool and one we are excited to be leading the way within New Zealand and Australia," said Jamie Lunam, General Manager of Jenkins Freshpac.

While these two concepts are quite separate and will evolve their own journey in the produce packing, they come together in a way that is quite stunning as shown below.