BerryWorld is adapting the packaging of its branded range to reduce its environmental impact in various markets.
The BerryWorld Group now has businesses in eight countries and said it is "actively taking steps to rethink plastic packaging in a co-ordinated way across markets", while avoiding a "one-size-fits-all" approach.
"We are aligning ourselves with both consumer attitudes and retailers demands across all territories to supply tailor-made sustainable packaging options for all our customers, both in Europe and beyond”, said group technical director Tim Newton.
Currently, all of BerryWorld’s UK punnets are 100 per cent widely recyclable and contain 50-80 per cent rPET (recycled plastic) content.
A target has been set to introduce 100 per cent recyclable packaging, including film and bubble pads, by 2021 with a minimum of 80 per cent rPET content by 2025.
"The business is continuously testing and reviewing many packaging formats to supply the UK market with a more sustainable, yet commercially viable option without compromising food quality or shelf life," a spokesperson for the company said.
Europe and Africa
Elsewhere, BerryWorld The Netherlands is aiming to ensure all punnets contain a minimum of 80 per cent rPET in 2020, while BerryWorld South Africa has committed to a minimum of 50 per cent rPET content for 2020, with a long-term vision to switch to post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic.
Alternative efforts are being made in France where an eco-friendly cardboard punnet is being developed alongside rPET film to provide a 100 per cent recyclable offer.
BerryWorld France has also streamlined its recyclable cardboard outers into one format, which will help make retail and wholesale supply chains more efficient.
In North America, meanwhile, BerryWorld’s JV partner Mastronardi Produce is the first fresh produce company to join the Sustainable Packaging Coalition of companies and thought leaders.
A spokesperson said the Mastronardi BerryWorld America JV was "continuously exploring and testing sustainable packaging options in market, including plastic-free packaging and backyard compostable materials".
When it comes to BerryWorld's prepared fruit arm, PrepWorld, further measures have been taken to reduce plastic use.
The business has now reduced the use of plastic sporks from 57 tonnes to just 7.2t annually. And it has cut its plastic usage by a further 71 tonnes by simply reducing the thickness of some punnet formats.
Focus has now also turned towards adding a biodegradable option to the prepared offer, but this is still in its infancy, with BerryWorld saying a better understanding of consumer recycling behaviour is critical to its success.