Angus Soft Fruits is now importing berries using a new reduced-plastic punnet that cushions the berries to improve quality and recyclability.
The company used the SPA Airlite punnet, designed by Sharpak Aylesham, for strawberries during their 2022-23 import season, starting with Dutch strawberries this autumn – a move that follows a successful pilot using the packaging for their Scottish strawberries during the summer of 2022.
The punnet, which won ‘Rigid Pack of the Year’ at the UK Packaging Awards in 2021, has a cushioned base that protects the berries and eliminates the need for an additional bubble pad, making the packaging full recyclable and cutting plastic weight by up to 20%.
ASF estimate that it could reduce the amount of plastic in import packaging for Dutch strawberries by around 5.72 tonnes a year.
The punnets, which also contain up to 80% recycled content, are available for 227g and 250g packs with plans to trial and potentially roll out additional sizes in future.
Some larger packs will still use bubble pads, but ASF are working closely with their packaging suppliers to remove the pads where possible to aid recycling while ensuring the berries are still protected.
ASF's sustainability manager Dr Catherine Russell said: “We are passionate about promoting a high standard of environmental trade practices across our farming and packing operations in the UK and overseas.
Packaging is just one of our five focus areas, which include carbon footprint reduction, supporting biodiversity, managing food waste, responsible packaging and changing behaviors.”
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