A Catalyst for Change: How We Helped BelleHarvest Transform Its Apple Packaging Into an Award-Winning Formula

When Michigan-based apple distributor BelleHarvest approached us looking for a sustainable alternative to its current plastic packaging, we wanted to become a catalyst for packaging change in the apple category. In 2021, our recyclable paperboard solution did just that.

Now is the time to make a change

We understand that consumers are concerned about how packaging impacts the environment. According to a 2020 survey from McKinsey, approximately 60 percent of US consumers rank glass, paperboard and paper as extremely or very sustainable, while laminated packaging ranked the lowest at 32 percent1. In Europe, paper and cardboard packaging ranked the highest with consumers for its sustainability attributes, with 57 percent agreeing that the substrate is easier to recycle2.

More recently, an Accenture study that surveyed 6,000 consumers in 11 countries across North America, Europe and Asia unveiled that 83 percent of those surveyed believed it was extremely or very important that companies designed products and their packaging so that they could be reused or recycled3.

With growing consumer concern around the environmental impact of plastic packaging, and the impending plastic tax legislation across many countries, now could be the time for growers, packers, brands and retailers to consider the move to a more sustainable packaging solution.

Award-winning industry recognition

The ProducePack™ solution designed for BelleHarvest is made from recyclable paperboard and uses our unbleached paperboard for additional strength to transport produce, like apples, safely and reliably from field to table. Designed with an upright, ergonomic structure, the solution can effectively protect the delicate produce inside, reducing defects such as bruising that can often occur during transit and storage, helping to reduce food waste – one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

BelleHarvest observed a 15 percent reduction in apple defects while being stored in refrigeration, further reducing waste. The ability to protect, preserve and present fresh produce freshly picked from the field made it an excellent contender for several awards in 2021.

The solution scooped up three awards in the US due to its excellent capabilities to extend shelf life, while helping to minimize food waste. In August the pack was awarded the ‘Saves Food – Agriculture’ Award in the Institute of Packaging Professionals’ Ameristar Awards after the judges were impressed by its excellent strength characteristics and innovative packaging design. The Ameristar award win was closely followed by an Excellence Award in Sustainability from the North American Paperboard Packaging Council (PPC) Awards.

We opened 2022 with a WorldStar Award in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables category. This prestigious industry award from the World Packaging Organization acknowledges the contribution that paperboard packaging is making to environmental sustainability.

A world of difference

Driven by our commitment to protect and preserve our planet, ProducePack will continue to enable BelleHarvest and other customers across the globe to make a difference by delivering healthy food in a way that helps minimize environmental impact.

With sustainability at its core, ProducePack delivers easy open, shelf ready packaging that’s designed to command in-store attention with high impact graphics. Available in automatic and manual filling options, the solution covers a wide range of applications to help retailers, brands and grower/packers reach their sustainability goals.

1 McKinsey & Company, Sustainability in packaging: Inside the minds of US consumers, 2020

2 Two Sides, European Packaging Preferences, 2020

3 The Produce News, via Accenture, Consumers make a plea for sustainability, June 2021

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