Sandra Somford-Pannekeet, president of JASA Packaging Solutions, displays apples packed with its Sleever system and its new Bag-2-Paper produce package. ( Tom Karst )

BERLIN — Netherlands-based JASA Packaging Solutions has added a location in Virginia because its new Sleever machine is finding traction in meeting the trend to replace plastic with paper packaging.

“We opened our office three months ago in Richmond, Va., because we have the Sleever and we want to go to the American market directly,” said Sandra Somford-Pannekeet, president of Netherlands-based JASA Packaging Solutions. 

The company exhibited at the Feb. 6-8 Fruit Logistica Expo.

The company has been active in the U.S. produce industry for 20 years, marketing its vertical packaging machines through distributors.

“We see a lot of potential for the Sleever in ready-to-eat salad and also tray packs,” she said. 

While the Sleever machine has been sold since 2018, JASA recently engineered the machine to handle apples.

According to the company’s website, the Sleever processes up to 100 trays per minute and is a compact “plug-and-play” machine and can be added to every packaging line.

The sleeves are made out of 100% cardboard, according to the company, and replaces the film that is currently used to pack apples.

“For the apple packing, we have lot of attention for what Sleever does,” she said. 

Eliminating plastic is a big trend in Europe and picking up steam in North America, she said.

“We found a perfect solution for apples, and we spoke to a lot of apple growers this week,” she said.

The JASA Sleever machine already has been used in potatoes and noodles, and she said she expects several machines to be installed with apple packers by next season.

At Fruit Logistica, the company was also touting its Bag-2-Paper packages. The bags are 100% and have no laminate or plastic coating, she said.

The bags are closed with a label and can reach packing speeds of 60 bags per minute, she said. The vertical packing technology has already been installed in three produce operations in the Netherlands, she said.