“Eco-design is a business approach that requires investments and time in the long term,” explains the president of Solarenn, Christophe Rousse. A joint effort from three actors of the fruit and vegetable sector – the Solarenn cooperative, DS Smith as global supplier of sustainable packaging and ETpack mechanizer – has helped optimize tomato packaging throughout the supply chain. The common goal? Moving to more sustainable solutions and eliminating single-use plastic. They have therefore developed a 100% cardboard packaging which is eco-designed and innovative, allowing maximum flexibility and visibility of the product. The joint design was initiated in September 2020.
This commitment fits the expectations of the French consumers, who are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their consumption and who are now questioning the food industry . For the past 2 years, there is indeed strong consumer’s pressure to eliminate single-use plastic.
Zero plastic and 100% cardboard for 7 trays in 2021
In 2021, Solarenn will have 7 different trays on the market that are 100% cardboard with zero-plastic. The ranges go from: 250, 350, 400 and 500 gr; for small round cherry tomatoes and long cherry tomatoes. While waiting for feedback from the consumers, the cooperative continues to work with its partners on the rest of its offer.
For Solarenn, DS Smith has developed a completely new packaging made of two parts: tray and top. The tray, without any printing, is made of corrugated cardboard, and the top is made of solid cardboard. The top is attached to the tray mechanically, and a pre-cut on the side of the packaging allows it to be opened easily.
The precise and customizable cut-outs on the top help to increase the product visibility. In terms of logistics, this solution with two separate parts saves 10 to 15% in the number of cardboard cut-out pallets shipped compared to shipping trays with the tops attached. The environmental impact is therefore optimized by reducing the number of trucks on the road.
Recyclability, reduction and plastic replacement, integration of recycled material, reuse…all those issues have been at the heart of the cooperative’s thinking about packaging for several years. Eco-designed packaging therefore remains essential. “It protects the products during transport, maintains its quality and ensures traceability for consumers” explains Isabelle Georges, director of Solarenn.
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