7, 8, 9 February 2018, Blossom, me and Tomatillo, my little tomato mascot, we were in Berlin for our fourth Fruit Logistica and thsi time we focused in live presentations. The first was on the 7th.
It was about plastic packaging and achieving a balance. Achieving a balance and reaching a momentum where this sort of package is recyclable, compostable, has a good managing and maintains the shelf life.
Eric Duncan from Coveris® referred that plastic packages maintain the product quality, avoid sprouting / fungal growth and reduce food waste. Yes, we know it’s plastic but it avoids quality deteriorating. To minimize what our actions are taking and protect the product, there are recycled materials like different types of polymers and second skin adding to packages. Eric Duncan mentions these protect the life of soft skin products like berries.
I became familiar with the best reduce, sustain and recycle solutions for the fresh produce industry. I realized that enterprises are worried about solutions to control the waste of paper and plastic. According to Coveris®, to reduce the plastic use, we need to reach a balance between sustaining and recycling. Sustaining the fruit shelf life of an apple can mean hours of scientific work and use of technology but it maximizes the benefit, whilst minimizing the impact. It minimizes the fruit browning through MAP. MAP stands for Modified Atmosphere Packaging and is used in fresh vegetables, fruit, and flowers to extend their shelf life. The use of recycled and recovered material as biodegradable was also referred as a valuable solution. Wrapping up the plastic question, the solution is bigger than the problem and eliminating plastic is not the solution. Another eye catching idea brought up by Simon Goldsack from Hewlett Packard® was that of modern packaging and labelling design.Printing customer phrases in packages and full colour graphics to draw customer’s attention, resulted in people looking for their sentences and publishing them on social media.
Corrugated packaging grew fruit sales significantly, drew attention and reduced the risk of produce contamination through single use. An additional advantage of this new labelling and packaging design worth mentioning is the lower CO2 emissions that come from its use and it being a short term polluter, that disappears as fast as possible after use.
The last significant feature of this presentation was the use of different languages while printing and the added value it creates to the end customer. They made a reference to the importance of translation.
Raquel Herce is the managing director of Mint, an international food and beverage marketing agency based in Madrid. Raquel spoke about the growth of online shopping and pop-up stores. She underlined the ups and downs of the market and the way the world has responded. There was a drop in the organic demand from 2000 to 2008 and a high demand from 2008 to 2018 due to a rise in health consciousness. The organic/gluten free and vegan trend went up too and this was seen as a marketing opportunity. The rise of online food shopping with UBER EATS lead to food delivery and this lead to more packaging, more plastic, more paper, and more waste. In contrast, Michaël Wilde from Eosta gave a presentation on the most sustainable form of labeling. His solution is no label at all. Through a grower laser stamp and an attractive website, consumers will have fully transparent information about the product and the grower. According to Wilde, laser technology leads to plastic reduction and respects the UN sustainable development goals. According to Wilde and quoting, “yesterday’s consumer is loyal, brand focused and his key interest is convenience, while today’s consumer is critical, unpredictable, distrusts the food industry and his key interests are convenience, price, health, local and GMO free. Innovation can only be called innovation unless it is a sustainable solution.”
In conclusion, plastic is not the only answer anymore. Industry professionals are worried in finding the best solutions and we should congratulate them for that. The marathon ended with a conversation with the @fruitnet group who have published an article of mine in their Eurofruit Magazine 501 special edition last year.This group is the developer of Fruit Logistica, the Berry Congress in the UK, Asia Fruit Logistica and a few more fresh produce related events around the globe. This year as you know, one of Blossom's aims was to get new ideas from live presentations. My idea is to give a live presentation about Blossom's solutions in Fruit Logistica 2019.