"Help me become more sustainable." This is the assignment that kicked off the collaboration between Dutch fruit grower Gijs van Herk, and packaging company Fonkels. Annually, Van Herk uses hundreds of thousands of mainly plastic containers. These are used to sell his cherries and strawberries in his store and at retailers. Based on Van Herk's demands and work processes, a new, patented strawberry punnet was developed. These are available in 250 and 500 g sizes.
The result - unique packaging made entirely from 100% recyclable cardboard. Ten of these punnets fit in a crate. They have specially rounded top edges. These prevent damage to the strawberries while being harvested. The containers have rounded corners too. These make it easier to pack them into the crates. This saves time during picking. That was one of Gijs's wishes - the grower wants to increase his profitability at the picking phase. This smart design has a dual purpose. It also adds to the punnet's sturdiness. Material usage is, therefore, optimized.
The flexi-base protects the fruit
The most innovative aspect is, however, the patented flexi-base. A special technique is used to transform stiff material, such as cardboard, into a springy, absorbent base. This prevents the fruit from being crushed and the juices from being absorbed. After use, these strawberry punnets can be recycled as paper. They can then be re-used as raw material.
Fonkels' design team also came up with Herk's strawberry containers' print design. They chose a natural look that perfectly complements this natural product, as well as the recycled material's color. Each of these containers represented a saving of 14 g of plastic waste. The design clearly informs people of that too.
Optimized for growers and sellers
Fonkels has now also developed cherry and soft fruit (raspberry and blueberry) packaging too. These are part of their Fruity line. This packaging includes innovative solutions such as flexi-bases. They have also been further optimized for growers and sellers. Not only the product but the entire chain is considered - from cultivation to processing and sales. "People can, of course, also contact us for custom-made packaging for other fruit and vegetable varieties," says a Fonkels spokesperson.
"Van Herk and his clients love this 100% cardboard strawberry punnet. It fits with the natural product he sells."