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Zespri Embraces Sustainability

Zespri Embraces Sustainability


Zespri Embraces Sustainability

Article by: Hari Yellina

By 2025, one of Zespri’s global environmental objectives is to have 100% recyclable, reuse, or compostable packaging. In Europe, this Kiwi specialist just took a step in the right direction by moving to 100% cardboard consumer packaging. “We used to wrap the fruit in a plastic film and place it on a cardboard tray. Our company is a staunch supporter of environmental protection. As a result, we wish to make a speedy transition to a plastic-free consumer packaging solution. We wish to use only cardboard packaging that is completely recyclable “According to Zespri’s Head of Marketing Europe & North America, Nele Moorthamers.

We were mostly concerned with whether the new packaging would adequately support the fruit and ensure that the kiwis were packed and transported properly. The packaging had to be appropriate for a fresh food, ensuring that its shelf life was maximised while in transit. Plastic serves a crucial purpose in the preservation of fresh fruit, and other options must be carefully considered.”


Another factor to consider was visibility, which is lower in cardboard packaging than in plastic. “Customers want to be able to see the product and decide which fruit is best for them.” As a result, we attempted to make the fruit apparent. “We found the balance between visibility and sturdiness by cutting the necessary cutouts in the package,” Nele adds.

Red Kiwi

Cultivation is another component of Zespri’s commitment to sustainability. For example, they are currently doing trials in Europe to develop red kiwis. In Asia, Zespri already sells these. “By producing red kiwis in Europe, we want to eventually offer the fruit to the European market. That’s a little closer and aligns with our sustainability objectives.” “We want to be able to grow our product as close to the user as feasible,” explains Nele. This type, like the green and yellow kiwis, will be wrapped in the new cardboard tray. “We’ll package it similarly to our other kiwis. In Europe, we’re working hard to limit the amount of plastic used in packaging.”

The Shift Towards Cardboard

Melanie Vanbelleghem of Van De Velde Packaging, claims that there is a lot more interest in paper and cardboard packaging now than there was previously. She credits this to, among other things, French legislation that was recently passed. With a few exceptions, it prohibits the use of plastic as a packing material. “We believe that this trend will also spread to Belgium and the Netherlands.” “We’ve already seen a shift in our customers’ packaging from plastic to cardboard.” According to Melanie, preparing for this transition is beneficial to a company. “Most clients find switching to paper or cardboard to be a major step. It also has a significant impact on their manufacturing process.”