A new innovation in fresh produce grocery packaging has finally given shoppers and brand owners an environmentally sustainable alternative to single-use plastic.
The new Freshpact range of paper punnets is one such solution developed by Mpact, the leading South African packaging manufacturer and recycler.
The De Agrela family have fresh produce in their blood with over 37 years’ experience in fresh produce retail.
Their flagship store, Impala Fruit & Veg in Northcliff, Johannesburg is an iconic fresh produce establishment and they are planning to expand and improve their newer store at Lifestyle Crossing in the West Rand even further.
Bradley de Agrela, operations manager for the company, is constantly looking for better alternatives and technological innovations and improvements in all facets of the business, and saw the need for more sustainable packaging as an alternative to single-use plastic in their stores.
It is through De Agrela’s pioneering vision, technical, and consumer insight that concepts were developed and tested in-store in November 2020.
Impala Fruit & Veg needed packaging of optimal fit, ease of packing and premium display, with no compromise to shelf life. Advanced functional barrier coatings were added to offer high humidity performance of refrigerated applications.
“Presentation of fresh produce is of the utmost importance. There can be no compromise on shelf-life or aesthetics. The Freshpact trays offer us all the attributes of the traditional trays with the added benefit of being sustainable, biodegradable and commonly recyclable,” says De Agrela.
After successful test results and thumbs up by the customers, the go-ahead was given to move to paper trays in January across a wider range of products.
“Our customers love the new trays. Some even return their trays to us to ensure these are routed to recycling,” says De Agrela.
“We use three common sizes of trays and these days you will find tomatoes, brinjals, peppers, strawberries and kiwis in Freshpact trays on our shelves.”
Made from food-safe, 100% FSC-certified paper material, the Freshpact punnets have many after-life options. They can be reused, recycled or added to home composting.
Since the introduction of the range towards the end of 2019, Freshpact has grown their range substantially and actively driven sustainability by converting close to 20 million units from plastic to paper.
This equates to 400t of plastic to paper, which, when recycled, saves approximately 1 200m3 of landfill space, an area as large as 480 Olympic-sized swimming pools.