For several years now, Maag Ltd, based in Ense (NRW), has specialized in recyclable packaging solutions made of mono-polypropylene. In view of the dramatic climate situation, the company is responding to the need to reuse packaging after recycling, including fresh-cut, fruit, and vegetables, says company spokeswoman Britta Schonlau. The Maag packaging concept was developed specifically to meet this need.
Right: Compostable packaging for precut products from Gartenfrisch Jung
Alongside baked goods, meat products, dairy and sweets/snacks, Freshcut fruit and vegetables are among Maag's five focus markets within the food industry, accounting for around 20 percent of sales. "Fruits and vegetables continue to be an interesting topic for us, as consumers have now realized that freshcut products in particular can hardly do without packaging," Schonlau observes, adding adds: "As a manufacturer of flexible plastic packaging, it is our endeavor to communicate and propagate the values of sustainability and circular economy to the outside world."
The three-man Maag management team: Ansgar Schonlau, Lothar Bödingmeier, Bernd Hecking.
Concentration on recyclable mono-PP
To this end, Maag, together with partners all along the value chain, has developed a novel and holistic concept called Maag pro-tect, which focuses in particular on recyclability and reusability. Schonlau: "Ultimately, the whole package has to be right. That means not only the packaging materials themselves, but the inks, adhesives, etcetera as well. In fact, all the components of a package must be designed from the 'end in mind' so that they can be reused in the secondary market after recycling."
In order to further advance sustainable food packaging, Maag now only carries single-material solutions made of PP in its product range. "PE composites have been standard in the industry for years and are likely to continue to dominate in the coming years. However, we are convinced that PP material is the only option for flexible packaging for the food market in terms of recycling management," Schonlau continues.
A view into the production hall.
Difficult market situation
Maag is also confronted with the current raw material shortages and the associated cost increases. "We are able to serve all orders, yet we are also struggling with significantly longer delivery times and exploding additional costs. Our strategy is to keep storage capacities as low as possible. Our production process is extremely lean and effective. This allows us to save immense costs with maximum flexibility. We deliver in such a way that excess quantities can be avoided and wastage is minimized. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate profitably right now," Schonlau continues.
With its finger on the pulse, Maag develops, among other things, packaging solutions for precut products
Expansion of market position
Despite the ongoing crisis situation and expected after-effects, Schonlau says the company is confident that raw materials will continue to be available in sufficient quantities in the coming months. "We will therefore continue to devote ourselves to the acquisition of new customers. We are committed to gradually expanding our position in the aforementioned market segments, not only in Germany and in the Netherlands, but in Scandinavia as well."