Smurfit Kappa responds to European demands for paper-based fresh produce punnets
26 Feb 2021 --- Smurfit Kappa is launching its paper-based punnet portfolio Safe&Green in Europe, where “consumers are ready to compromise for more sustainable packaging solutions for their fresh produce.”
Jurgita Girzadiene, sustainability manager at Smurfit Kappa Europe, tells PackagingInsights the launch corresponds with company research revealing European consumers’ preference for paper-based packaging.
Seventy-five percent of Smurfit Kappa-surveyed consumers believe paper-based punnets to be the sustainable choice.
“We saw major interest from growers and retailers, which drove us to leverage our size and presence and launch this portfolio in a more coordinated way,” Girzadiene explains.
Internal cross-learning combined with recent interest from the market gives Smurfit Kappa confidence in “even bigger business potential than we supply today.”
The Smurfit Kappa survey found consumers prefer a balance between content visibility and environmental sustainability.
Consumers were asked to evaluate six types of punnets for fresh produce, ranging from the completely transparent plastic punnet to the non-transparent paper-based punnet with a paper closure.
The overall preferred design was a paper-based punnet with a paper lid, designed to allow partial product visibility.
“Generally, the consumers’ need to see the product must not come at the cost of sustainability. The ideal solution is a balance between the two,” Girzadiene details.
A preference for paper packaging aligns with data from Innova Market Insights. In a 2021 consumer survey, 37 percent of German and 44 percent of UK respondents agreed paper performs “excellently” in terms of recyclability.
Moreover, 38 percent of German respondents and 55 percent from the UK view recyclable packaging as the most responsible option.
Standing out from the competition
Smurfit Kappa’s Safe&Green solutions consist of customizable designs that are fully renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
Where legislation requires it, the punnets are made with 100 percent virgin paper.
“Unpeeled and uncut fruits are classified as dry and un-fatty products, which have different requirements to those classified as fatty products,” Girzadiene highlights.
“Depending on legislation, produce, supply chain and customer demands, we look at the perfect mix of recycled and virgin content. However, the punnets are always fully recyclable.”
So far, Smurfit Kappa has launched 25 different punnet designs and expects more in the future. “We will continue to develop much needed sustainable packaging solutions in this market and a new concept will soon be launched,” Girzadiene concludes.
By Anni Schleicher
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