Sustainable packaging for fruit and vegetables

29/04/2019

The packaging of fresh fruit and vegetables has been the subject of debate for a long time regarding its scope and necessity. In the context of the increasingly comprehensive measures of the German food retail trade with regard to the use of more sustainable packaging systems, more and more environmentally friendly solutions can be discovered in the fresh food areas of supermarkets and discounters. The individual measures focus on the three levels of avoidance, reuse and recycling.

The range of unpackaged articles is being expanded. Labelling is increasingly carried out using laser inscriptions (“Natural Branding” or also “Smart Branding”). Edeka, for example, says it can save 50 tonnes of plastic per year in this way.

With regard to the reduction of packaging materials used, Rewe and Edeka, for example, are increasingly using banderoles in addition to labels. In the case of Aldi’s Fairtrade organic bananas, this has reduced the use of plastic film by around 340 million tonnes per year.

As part of the substitution of plastic components in packaging, Edeka is placing more emphasis on paper trays and cardboard trays. Aldi and Kaufland are testing the use of grass fibre trays. Globus tries corn starch foil, Lidl cellulose nets.

In the medium term, consumers should learn to do without plastic bags for packaging fruit and vegetables – the so-called “knot bags”. Kaufland, Penny and Globus, for example, use reusable freshness nets made of cotton or polyester for this purpose.

Finally, the use of packaging is obviously being minimized more and more, but the information content may be maximized in the future. In this context, Rewe uses labels with the possibility of traceability for its bananas. With the help of the printed QR code, the interested consumer can find out about the origin of the bananas – from the producer to the outlet.