Metalprint managing director Bernard Waterson shares how growers can meet market demands and sustainability with its latest packaging solution.

Ensuring sustainability when it comes to selling fruit and vegetables can require a number of conflicting priorities, requirements and sentiments to be met by fruit retailers.

On the other side of the supply chain, growers are required to meet the demands of not only the retailer, but also the end consumer, who expects safe and hygienic fresh produce in store, and increasingly, a preference for more sustainable packaging formats, while also preventing food waste.

Australian packaging specialist Metalprint is the region’s distributor for Frutmac Zippmatic solutions and managing director Bernard Waterson says these solutions tick more boxes than other packaging formats.

“It’s not just for recyclability, but also for food preservation and other market demands as well,” Waterson told Food & Drink Business.

“Consumers prefer the recyclability of paperboard, but don’t want to compromise on other features.”

“Retailers want solutions that limit damage in transport, improve tamper evidence, are consistent with weight and measures requirements, and limit the handling of fruit in store and meet consumer demands.

“Fruit growers are required to meet all the above while maintaining an efficient and cost-effective operation.

“Frutmac’s Zippmatic packaging is optimised to work together with existing logistics systems, and allows low touch and safe merchandising in store. The produce is protected from the damage often caused by other packaging formats.”

Despite being fairly new to the Australian market, Frutmac’s solutions are becoming widely accepted by European retailers and produce suppliers.

These packs have helped preserve and deliver a variety of produce in fresh and sellable condition, from apples, pears and kiwi fruit, to cherries, stone fruit, asparagus and potatoes.

“Packaging of fresh produce is necessary to get food to the consumer in the best condition possible,” says Waterson.

“Fruit that is damaged through the supply chain becomes food waste, either due to a shortened useable life, or through simply being overlooked by the consumer. Produce packaging must primarily preserve foods through the supply network, and once in store.”

There is a diverse range of materials and formats which fresh produce can be packed in, such as punnets, plastic wraps, board-based trays and plastic bags. Although they may satisfy a subset of consumer and retailer requirements, “most of these represent a compromise in terms of function and/or sustainability,” Waterson says.

“We’re always working with growers in ensuring the produce they deliver to retailers is in its freshest and best condition possible, minimising the risk of food waste once it reaches stores. We believe Frutmac’s sustainable solutions are going to change the way fresh produce is packed, transported and delivered for the better across Australia.”

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