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Fiber-based packaging stands out at OPS

MONTEREY, CA—When I walk a trade show floor, I’m looking for a few things, most notably trends and new products.

At the Organic Produce Summit, one trend stood out more than any other: fiber-based packaging.

The push to banish plastic from the produce department, particularly in organic produce, is not new, but it did take a back seat to a lot of other issues over the past year and a half.

As one shipper told me, calls for sustainable packaging are like a tsunami, and we’re just seeing the waves recede from the beach.

In other words: Brace yourself. It’s coming.

While fiber-based packaging has been on the upswing over the past few years, I just started seeing it in stores over the past few months at retailers like H-E-B’s Central Market, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

Berries and tomatoes are two categories where I typically see fiber-based packaging options being trialed.

At OPS, there were quite a few newcomers. Here are those that stood out to me:

Peri & Sons BB #:263378 has a new compostable paper onion bag with biodegradable twine used as the netting.

Ocean Mist BB #:111742 is packing organic artichokes in a corrugated clamshell.

Coke Farms BB #:126180, whose tomatoes and strawberries in corrugated clamshells I’ve seen in-store now offers it for snap peas.

Lipman Family Farms BB #:110471 has new corrugated clamshells for peppers, cucumbers, and green beans.

Honeybear Brands BB #:128246 has a corrugated box for Honeycrisp apples available in select retailers.

The clear film in the window of Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo’s BB #:158898 new fiber boxes also is compostable.

HMC Farms BB #:254979 has a fiber-based box for stone fruit.

Wholesum BB #:135847 also went with a fiber box with band, this time promoting a fully compostable band.

Morning Kiss Organic has fiber sleeve-style boxes for lemons, limes, and avocados.

The jury is still out on whether retail buyers and consumers will be willing to put their wallets where their sustainability goals are, but I do like that shippers are bringing new options to the table.

I’ll be keeping my eyes open to see how they perform in-store.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.