Sustainability shows up big at Fresh Summit

Sustainability shows up big at Fresh Summit

It may be stating the obvious, but consumers and produce marketers still care about sustainability.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed the issue lower on the list of priorities because of the stressed supply chain and new shopping patterns, Ed Treacy believes sustainability is floating to the top.

Treacy, vice president of supply chain and sustainability at the Produce Marketing Association, said sustainable packaging is again a topic on social media.

When COVID-19 first hit in mid-March, Treacy said there was about a month period when consumers were not talking about sustainability much at all.

That has changed now, he said, and now consumers are again expressing their preference for more sustainable packaging options.

Produce marketers certainly are still talking about sustainability, if the exhibits at the virtual PMA Fresh Summit were any indication.

Some of the virtual booths that featured sustainable discussions and packaging:

  • Del Monte Fresh Produce NA offered a link to its latest update on corporate social responsibility.
  • Apeel Sciences touted its plant-based coating as a sustainable way to fight food waste.
  • Kwik Lok Corp. touted new products as a way to minimize packaging while providing for branding and traceability. 
  • Bedford Industries ties and tags are recyclable and the company’s TagBack logo on tags and ties helps educate consumers. The company also released its sustainable report, available online.
  • CleanFlake Adhesive Technology from Avery Dennison enables pressure-sensitive label materials to cleanly separate from PET plastic containers during the recycling process, leaving no adhesive residue on the PET flake.
  • California Giant Berry Farms announced the Sustainably Grown certification of Satsuma Farms, strategic strawberry grower-partner for California Giant, under the standard of SCS Global Services. 
  • Terphane introduced its Ecophane line of sustainable PET Films, comprised of a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled PET.
  • G&R Farms announced that it has obtained the Rainforest Alliance Certification for the majority of its Peruvian sweet onion supply.
  • Mucci Farms has introduced a paper pack that will reduce the plastic on its cucumber club pack. Mucci also said its paper top seal package replaces the plastic top seal film with a paper film, allowing both the PET tray and lid to be fully recyclable, according to the company.
  • ABI System Inc. touted its BioSustainable food packaging trays, which the company said present an environmentally responsive alternative to traditional plastic trays and are suitable for both industrial and backyard composing. 
  • Red Sun Farms has introduced SustainLabel! and top seal fiber. SustainLabel! provides wash-away technology and has passed the Association of Plastic Recyclers Critical Guidance testing. The company’s new top seal recyclable fiber technology is fully printable, leaving the top seal wide open for product visibility. The company said the clear top seal will be a mono structure, allowing all components of this package to be recycled.
  • Boskovich Farms Inc. has introduced Fair Earth Farms Home Compostable Salad Kits, which the company said are home-compostable in 70 days or less.
  • EarthFresh introduced its organic golden potatoes in 100% compostable packaging. 
  • Sambrailo Packaging has introduced its ReadyCycle 6-ounce blueberry pack. 
  • Mission Produce touted Avolast powered by Hazel, which the company said is a post-harvest program featuring a quarter-sized biodegradable and food-safe packaging insert that blocks ethylene receptors. 
  • Progressive Produce introduced a 100% recyclable paper potato packaging for conventional, organic, and baby potatoes.
  • CKF Inc. featured its Earthcycle certified home compostable and recyclable top seal tray for club stores. The company said the pack is price-competitive with incumbent substrates while reducing single use plastic usage by over 90%.
  • Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic Farms are studying how to use less packaging material in each delivery.
  • Intergrow Greenhouses introduced its eco-friendly package for its 16-ounce cherry tomatoes on the vine, which the company says offers an 80% reduction in plastic compared with clamshell equivalents.
  • Jac. Vandenberg Inc. offers its Sunrays mandarins in bio bags, with netting made 100% from beech wood pulp that is a by-product of the forest industry. The company said the fibers from which the netting is formed are certified as home compostable and biodegradable within weeks.
  • Zespri Kiwifruit offers its 1-pound SunGold Kiwifruit clamshell, which the company said is made from 100% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. More than 40,000 pounds of plastic are saved this year alone due to the new shape, according to the company.
  • Duda Farm Fresh Food touted its Dandy tray pack sweet corn with a 100% recyclable tray.
  • Houweling’s Group touted its paperboard top seals punnets, which the company said offer a 90% plastic reduction when compared with traditional clamsells.
  • Wholesum offered its new earth-friendly organic vegetable line in 100% plastic-free packaging.
  • Giro Pack Inc. said its Ecogiro Compostable program uses 100% compostable certified materials. 
  • Nature Fresh Farms featured its compostable cucumber wrap, which the company said is made from a starch-based material and printed with compostable ink.
  • Monterey Mushrooms offered visitors a links to its sustainability goals.
  • Dayka & Hackett LLC is working with some of the world’s biggest retailers and suppliers in the #10x20x30 initiative, which seeks to cut waste in half by 2030.