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Smurfit Kappa: Corporate Interest in Sustainable Packaging Surges

Smurfit Kappa: Corporate Interest in Sustainable Packaging Surges
(Photo Credit: Smurfit Kappa)

Smurfit Kappa says they are seeing a surge of interest from companies seeking sustainable packaging solutions for fresh fruit and vegetables. The European corrugated packaging company also surveyed consumers about their packaging preferences.

Portuguese grape producer Pomares do Sol is part of the recent uptick in interest, Smurfit Kappa says. Pomares do Sol sought packaging that met its sustainability requirements and could stand up to a complex supply chain, according to the packaging company.

After analyzing product requirements and the producer’s supply chain, Smurfit Kappa developed a new corrugated small box called a punnet similar to their SoFru pack for berries. The packaging company says this punnet is easy to assemble, fully recyclable, and designed to maintain the condition and quality of the grapes from the farm to consumers.

At the same time, consumers are seeking sustainable packaging, the company says. A 2018 Smurfit Kappa Consumer Insights Survey based on 1,200 shoppers using eye-tracking technology found that 75% of consumers indicated a preference for paper-based packaging over plastic.

Last year Smurfit Kappa launched the Better Planet Packaging initiative to reduce packaging waste and prevent litter from ending up in landfills and the ocean.

In January the company challenged designers, engineers, and inventors to develop packaging innovations that could replace existing, un-recyclable packaging waste. The competition brought in more than 300 entries and selected the winners for two main challenges in May.

German designer Eric Haas came up with a net-like structure made from paper to secure pallet loads instead of plastic stretch wrap. Kerstin Fischbacher, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna developed a thermal insulation product made from paper pulp as an alternative to expanded polystyrene for protecting chocolates. Each of the winners received a €8,000 prize.

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