In Italy, the Vog Consortium has unveiled its new packing line, an all-cardboard four-apple tray, which is Vog says is part of its "constant search for more environment-friendly methods and processes".
According to the consortium, the first deliveries are scheduled for this weekend, with Biosüdtirol – member-coop of the Vog Consortium – who will ship the first trial pallets to selected customers.
Vog has long been engaged in systematic research to reduce the use of “throw-away” plastic, replacing it with biodegradable, compostable or recyclable materials, and the first practical application is now ready.
Biosüdtirol became the first to trial the new packaging, with production, processing and sales tests, in response to strong demand from organic apple customers. This led to the adaptation of a new packaging line, producing 4-fruit packs made from 100 per cent cardboard, with no need to use the traditional plastic film anymore.
The problem to be solved was the dual function that trays are required to perform – not only sealing the pack and protecting the fruit but also displaying the product, to enable the consumer to make an informed choice.
Unlike a fruit tray covered with stretch film, a tray with cardboard cover does not allow easy “visual inspection” of the contents. Research was therefore focused on this aspect, and led to the creation of a custom-designed layout which provides a satisfactory view of the product.
“Organic apple consumers are extremely sensitive to this issue. We are happy with the results achieved, which we will evaluate on the basis of our customers’ feedback,” commented Werner Castiglioni, director of the Biosüdtirol Cooperative.
The first customers will put the new packaging on their shelves in the coming days, and one of them is the Irish firm Begley’s.
“We’ve been looking for a plastic-free packaging, especially for our best-selling four-fruit size, for years. We’re proud to have been amongst the first to be notified of this opportunity by the Vog group, and we checked out the tests and confirmed our order at once,” Greg Begley explained.
“We’ve now broken the ice,” stated Vog Consortium CEO Gerhard Dichgans, “and we’re currently investigating a number of alternative solutions, offered by the packaging industry. We are very thankful for the support which they gave us to find practical solutions.
"We will be ready in the autumn, for the start of the new apple season, with more packaging lines for ‘100 per cent cardboard’ four/six fruit trays, which we are planning at other Vog group Cooperatives.”