Fiber-based packaging leader Graphic Packaging International has launched of its ProducePack™ Punnet, an innovative paperboard alternative to plastic punnet trays for fresh fruit and vegetables. This new product, available for all commonly used punnet sizes, is fully recyclable and reduces plastic by up to 100 percent, depending on application.
Designed with optimum operational efficiency in mind, ProducePack Punnet can be top-sealed at speeds equivalent to traditional plastic punnets. The sustainable solution works with existing machinery and tooling for plastic trays, meaning that minimal investment is required for packers looking to make the switch to paperboard.
For brands and retailers, the pack has been proven to offer equivalent shelf life to plastic for certain produce items while reducing the potential for food waste. A range of board and barrier options is available, which have all been selected to ensure the package remains robust in cold storage and throughout the supply chain. ProducePack Punnet can be supplied formed or flat, the latter offering CO2 reductions in transit due to higher punnet tray volume per truckload.
In line with Graphic Packaging’s Design for the Environment (DfE) approach, its features can be customized to suit various markets and potential applications. From tomatoes to berries and more, the unique solution ensures sustainability is at the forefront at each stage of the manufacturing process. ProducePack Punnet can also be graphically printed to maximize branding opportunities without the need for additional labelling.
Elodie Bugnicourt, sustainability manager at Graphic Packaging International, said: “ProducePack Punnet delivers a 90 percent reduction in plastic when compared to polypropylene or polyester trays, and a 100 percent reduction if a barrier coating is not necessary for the application. It is expected to provide carbon footprint reduction versus standard fossil plastic trays and a much greater circularity with an average paperboard recycling rate of more than double that of plastics, on average, in most countries. The interest we received in ProducePack was extraordinary following its launch earlier this year. ProducePack Punnet now extends the range to new applications such as berries, enabling our customers to reap the environmental benefits of paperboard packaging in a wider variety of fresh produce applications.”
Ricardo De Genova, Graphic Packaging’s SVP, global innovation and new business development, added: “As growers and producers look to move towards recyclable fiber-based solutions, they can count on our expertise to deliver value-added innovation as well as like-for-like functionality versus traditional plastic trays. Aligned with our Vision 2025 and DfE methodology, this launch is another example of how we can partner with customers to accelerate the transition to a more circular economy.”
As the market looks for fluorochemical-free (FC-free) papers, Twin Rivers Paper Company has aggressively invested in its PFAS-free (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances- free) grease-resistant food packaging brand, EcoBarrier®. The company worked closely with the largest fast-food, quick-serve, and fast-casual restaurants to engineer a food-safe non-fluorinated product.
“By the end of 2023, most major North American chemical companies are voluntarily ceasing production fluorochemical-based grease-proofing agents,” explained Rachel Van Wychen, Director of Packaging. “As papermakers, we’ve dedicated tremendous resources to the expansion of our PFAS-free paper portfolio. We’re currently in the field working with key customers to qualify our EcoBarrier products and ensure they’ve secured their source of supply in advance of the transition.”
The expanded Twin Rivers FC-free line-up includes:
EcoBarrier Plus, a top-of-the-line paper engineered for heavy grease applications, is ideal for greasy food applications such as French fry bags, hamburger and taco wraps, hash brown pouches, and microwave food bags. Available in basis weights ranging from 18 – 45 lb. /29 – 73 gsm (24 x 36/500).
EcoBarrier Choice, a fit-for-use substrate designed with lighter grease-resistant properties, is known for exceptional stain holdout and outstanding printability. It delivers medium to light stain resistance for packaging, including cookie bags, sandwich wraps, and carryout bags. Available in basis weights ranging from 18 – 60 lb. /29 – 98 gsm (24 x 36/500).
EcoBarrier delivers Twin Rivers’ hallmark converting performance in the areas of gluing, folding, printing, and laminating. Recycled content and chain-of-custody fiber certification are available upon request. Additionally, all EcoBarrier products are 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and plastic-free, making it the optimal substrate choice for sustainable packaging.
Van Wychen added, “The EcoBarrier advancements reflect Twin Rivers’ commitment to accelerating the availability of PFAS-free papers and providing options for packaging converters and brand owners. Commercializing one of the first FC-free papers eight years ago gives us a distinct advantage and market leadership position. Our experience over the years has allowed our development team to perfect our formulation and converting performance.”
Both EcoBarrier papers are available with EZ Release™ for end uses needing exceptional release results. This proprietary formulation optimizes surface friction to produce nonstick functionality for baking, bacon layout, and other moist or fatty food applications.
“The goal of the EcoBarrier line extension is not only to meet but exceed our customers’ rigorous performance requirements for PFAS-free papers. Our hard work, barrier expertise, product category experience, and innovative papermaking paid off,” commented Danielle Thibodeau, Director of Technical Services. “Competitive testing has shown that not all FC-free papers are created equal. We’re proud to manufacture one of the best-performing products in the market.”
Twin Rivers offers a comprehensive line of highly-functional coated and uncoated packaging papers under the brands EcoBarrier®, Acadia®, and Bladepak®. The portfolio targets a range of applications that require oil and grease resistance, wet strength, FDA compliance, printability, microwaveability, strength properties, fiber certification, and recycled content.