In the world of fresh produce, ensuring products reach consumers in the best possible condition is essential. The challenge? Packaging. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about sustainability, efficiency, and innovation.
To delve deeper into this topic, we conducted an interview with Patrick Boot, Chief Financial Officer and board member of NNZ North America, a global leader in the packaging industry, to discuss their unique “Re-Think” approach to fresh produce packaging.
Retailers and packers of fresh produce face significant challenges when it comes to fresh produce packaging. Can you elaborate?
Patrick Boot: Absolutely! The main challenge is balancing protection and freshness of the product with sustainability considerations. Packaging plays a pivotal role in reducing food waste by preserving the freshness of produce. However, there’s an increasing demand for sustainable packaging solutions that have a minimal environmental footprint.
How does NNZ tackle this challenge?
Patrick Boot: We’ve developed a holistic “Re-Think” method that encompasses four main pillars: Reinvent, Redesign, Research, and Recycle. It’s a comprehensive approach that aims to offer innovative and sustainable packaging solutions tailored to the needs of fresh produce retailers and packers.
Can you explain the ‘Reinvent’ stage of your approach?
Patrick Boot: Certainly. At the ‘Reinvent’ stage, we challenge the conventional solutions. Our goal is to think outside the box, explore alternative materials, or even reduce the amount of material without compromising product protection. Ultimately, we aim to extend the freshness of produce, addressing food waste head-on. Each innovation undergoes rigorous prototyping and market testing to ensure it meets our clients’ standards.
Moving on to ‘Redesign.’ How does this step differ?
Patrick Boot: ‘Redesign’ focuses on improving the practicality and automation of packaging. We consider how the packaging can be handled more efficiently and how it integrates with automation solutions. Just like with ‘Reinvent,’ prototypes are essential, and market testing ensures that our redesigned solutions resonate with our customer base.
That sounds fascinating. Can you share insights on the ‘Research’ stage?
Patrick Boot: With pleasure! ‘Research’ is where we anticipate future market trends. We’re not just reacting; we’re proactively seeking the next big thing in packaging. We gather insights from all our affiliates and even host ‘innovation café’s’ where our team, alongside top design experts, brainstorm on new ideas. The best concepts become prototypes, which we present to our clients. Additionally, we conduct extensive research, both quantitative and qualitative, to validate our products and gather consumer insights, ensuring our solutions meet market demands.
Lastly, let’s touch on ‘Recycle.’ Why is this stage crucial?
Patrick Boot: In today’s world, recycling is non-negotiable. It’s the backbone of a successful circular economy. At NNZ USA (for american customers) and NNZ Canada (for Canadian customers), we ensure our products meet four key conditions that make them truly recyclable.
- The packaging for produce must be made with a material that is collected for recycling, has market value and/or is supported by a legislatively mandated program.
- The packaging for produce must be sorted and aggregated into defined streams for recycling processes.
- The packaging for produce can be processed and reclaimed/recycled with commercial recycling processes.
- The recycled material becomes a raw material that is used in the production of new products.
From using materials with market value and support for recycling to ensuring the end material can be reused, we believe that a sustainable future for packaging lies in recycling.
In conclusion, do you have any words of advice for retailers and packers looking to improve their packaging?
Patrick Boot: I’d encourage them to always be open to change and innovation. The world of packaging is dynamic, and staying ahead requires a willingness to adapt. At NNZ, we’re always ready to be that partner who brings innovation, efficiency, and sustainability to the table.
As fresh produce continues to be a vital part of our diets, the packaging it comes in remains at the forefront of innovation. NNZ, with its Re-Think methodology, is paving the way for a future where packaging meets the needs of both the planet and the consumer.
Get in Touch: Rethinking your fresh produce packaging?
Tel: +1 770 921 9210