“Consumers’ demands for plastic reduction have grown over the years. People are more aware of sustainable packaging nowadays, and retailers want to tune into this consumer trend,” says Arjan van Steekelenburg, chain manager at Hazera. “On the other hand, retailers want to brand their product, and exhibit the specific qualities of the premium product they are selling.”

Recently, Hazera launched their new tomato variety Sensera. It is an aromatic, deep red tomato with a good sweet to sour ratio. But the most particular quality additional to the fruit’s quality is its green parts. Arjan: “Sensera’s green parts are thick and stand high over the truss. They have a fresh look and keep fresh for over two weeks, with the tomatoes firmly connected to it.”

One of the easiest solutions to the packaging problem is selling products loose. However, this is not an attractive option for retailers, as Arjan explains. “Apart from the loose segment getting messy as customers might choose to pick just one or two tomatoes from the truss, it is perceived as cheap and it deprives retailers and growers of the chance to brand their product and offer additional information to their customers.”

Hazera has managed to combine both elements: the sustainability and the branding in one packaging solution: a banderole that saves more than 70% plastic compared to a normal flow pack of top seal packaging. The truss holds itself together and functions as a natural handle. This is an ideal solution as the Sensera variety is characterized by extra-strong green parts. The banderole itself allows the possibility to communicate a chain, shop, producer or brand’s values to the consumer at point of sale and into the kitchen.”

The strong green parts were not Hazera’s original aim with their new variety. “We did not even notice this ‘natural handle’ until we started to promote it to trade. However, this specific trait ties in perfectly with our sustainability goals concerning the packaging. And then there were the additional benefits of longer freshness, taste and visual attractiveness which are of course nice extras.”

Hazera isn’t quite finished with the new banderole yet. “We are still looking for the right material and method to apply the banderole to the truss. Therefore, we are challenging partners to co-develop this packaging concept into a paper-based product, in order to reduce plastic even more. Together, we will able to fully develop this packaging of the future.”

For more information:
Hazera
Arjan van Steekelenburg
Chain Manager – Fresh Produce
T: +31642480735     
M: +31642480735
E: Arjan.van.Steekelenburg@hazera.com
www.hazera.com/2021/03/sustainable-packaging-for-tomatoes/