Despite the concerns of some environmental groups that France’s decree to ban plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables doesn’t go far enough, Interfel’s Laurent Grandin backs the sector’s efforts

Since 1 January 2024, a French decree has come into effect stipulating that fruits and vegetables packaged in batches of less than 1.5kg can no longer be sold wrapped in plastic.

Generic strawberries plastic clamshells punnets

Strawberries are exempt from the plastic ban

However, some environmental groups have criticised the long list of exemptions to the ban. “As it stands, the list of exemptions is much too long,” said Manon Richert, communications manager at Zero Waste France. “It will not make it possible to achieve the objective of zero single-use plastics by 2040.”

However, Laurent Grandin, president of interbranch organisation Interfel, defended the list, arguing that exemptions were “driven by the realities of product fragility, with technical solutions that did not yet exist”.

He also backed the sector’s efforts thus far in reducing the amount of plastic packaging being used. “We are in favour of getting rid of plastic,” he confirmed on France Info. “Half of our products are packed in alternative packaging, and we already sell two-thirds of our products in bulk.”

Complicating matters somewhat, said Grandin, is the fact that the decree is apparently “deemed illegal” in the EU since a harmonised position for all EU counties is currently under discussion.