“Whoever says strawberries, says Hoogstraten. Rightly so, because Hoogstraten Cooperative grew out of strawberry cultivation. In the meantime, Hoogstraten is also known as the taste specialist in berries, tomatoes and peppers. Together with our producers, we ensure that customers can enjoy tasty fruit and vegetables all year round with guaranteed high quality. From Hoogstraten we supply Belgian and international supermarket chains, wholesalers and export companies. In order to maintain this leading position, quality and innovation are high on the agenda,” according to the cooperative.
“The current crisis teaches us that even now innovative and creative solutions are possible. Responsible and creative packaging is becoming increasingly important. Unique fruit and vegetable packaging must be innovative, distinctive and sustainable. The right packaging does make the difference,” the organization states. “Cooperative Hoogstraten wants to continue to invest in sustainable interaction. A good example of this is the switch to cardboard punnets for strawberries. A project that was successfully completed despite all the unforeseen obstacles. And as it should be in a cooperative, it could count on the involvement of different departments and external partners. “
Hans Vanderhallen, director at Coöperatie Hoogstraten explains: “The project shows that we dare to broaden our horizons and explore innovations. In consultation with the supplier, we developed a custom-made packaging machine where the punnets are placed directly in the boxes. In this way, loads with fully filled strawberry boxes are now being delivered to our producers. The result: a more cost-efficient packaging concept with significant labour savings at the production companies.
In addition, the boxes with empty punnets are scanned, after which this information is linked to an RFID tag so that it becomes possible to link all QR codes to the producer who will fill these punnets with delicious Hoogstraten strawberries. And the QR code offers more than that. With a simple click, consumer and producer come into contact with each other.
Now more than ever we want to focus on personal connection and thereby give real substance to the short chain that cooperatives stand for. Despite our long history, we are a modern cooperative with a strong vision for the future. We analyse our possibilities and those of our environment and get to work with them. The introduction of the cardboard punnet proves this. We are convinced that working together makes us stronger. We want to be an agile organization that achieves maximum alignment between the expectations of producers and customers,” concludes Hans Vanderhallen.
The project is beautifully portrayed in the video below.
100% FSC cardboard
“The punnets are made of 100% FSC cardboard and completely free of plastic. The punnet with its attractive design and premium look & feel will certainly stand out on the shop shelf. When cardboard is not a solution, the customer at Hoogstraten can also opt for a sustainable variant in plastic,” says Coöperatie Hoogstraten. “After all, our plastic strawberry punnets have been made from 100% recycled PET material for over 5 years.”