Motivated by the desire to be more sustainable as an industry, as well as by requests from buyers and end users, companies are looking to more reusable and recyclable packaging solutions.
“We’re seeing more biodegradable and compostable packaging this year than we’ve ever had,” said Steve Greenfield, director of sales and marketing for Lawrenceville, Ga.-based NNZ Inc. “With the economy, we thought this was going to take a nose dive.”
Iceless packing for foodservice ranks as one area where shippers are really innovating. At the Produce Marketing Association’s annual foodservice conference July 24-26 in Monterey, Calif., Mann Packing Co., plans to show off new packaging for its broccolini and Simply Singles whole leaf lettuce.
“The packaging modifications are to be greener,” said Gina Nucci, director of foodservice marketing for the Salinas, Calif.-based company. “It’s the way we’re going.”
The iceless packs are cleaner for distribution centers and for foodservice warehouses, and also allow for the product to be packed in unwaxed corrugated cardboard boxes. Unwaxed containers are recyclable, while waxed containers tend not to be.
Prima Bella Produce Inc. is also using iceless and waxless packaging for its fresh-cut corn products.
“Most items that need to be ice injected need waxed corrugated cardboard,” said Mark Bacchetti, owner and chief executive officer of the Tracy, Calif.-based company. “Those need to be disposed of in a landfill. Unwaxed cartons can be baled and recycled.”
Bacchetti said the company has been transitioning to iceless for the last year. Most retailers and foodservice buyers, he said, have ways of recycling the cardboard.
| Courtesy Stemilt Growers Inc.
Wenatchee, Wash-based Stemilt Growers Inc's Artisan Organics carton for cherries is made with kraft-based paper, which uses less wood fiber and less water in production than boxes made with white paper.
Companies are looking more toward wax impregnated cartons that are recyclable, said Roberta Anderson, business development manager for Food Alliance, a third-party certifier.