Friday, July 26, 2024

Potato ‘leader’ cuts back on plastic with paper bag innovation

Australia’s potato and onion category “leader” Mitolo Family Farms has partnered with Coles and Detpak to create what is believed to be Australia’s first kerbside recyclable paper bag for fresh potatoes.

The packaging innovation will see Mitolo Family Farms’ premium Gourmandine potatoes sold in new paper bags, delivering a 64% reduction in plastic, with 8.2 tonnes less plastic being used each year (when compared to the previous packaging for this product).

The new packaging extends on previous sustainability steps taken by Mitolo Family Farms, having cut its use of plastic packaging by 60 tonnes in 2022 by reducing the thickness of plastic used to bag potatoes.

Mitolo Family Farms Managing Director Frank Mitolo says this bag may sound like a simple solution, but it has taken “immense work to ensure there’s absolutely no compromise to the quality of the potatoes while allowing us to achieve the sustainability outcome we were seeking”.

“We had to consider everything from lux lighting levels in the supermarket through to breathing holes that don’t tear, new sealing solutions, bag strength and more,” he says

“We know Australian consumers are increasingly looking for sustainable supply chains for the products they purchase, and we’re proud to be leading the way and partnering with Coles for a product that so many families love to cook and share.”

Detmold Group General Manager of Innovation and Sustainability Tom Lunn says Detpak applied proprietary technology to deliver on both sustainability and efficiency outcomes.

“We’re very pleased to have been able to draw on our in-house development capabilities in order to assist Mitolo Family Farms with their desire to transition their Gourmandine product away from plastic packaging,” he says.

“Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of making responsible choices when it comes to choosing which brands to buy from, and packaging plays a significant part in those decisions.”

Coles Business Category Manager for Vegetables Tim Nitschke says the retailer was pleased to work with Mitolo Family Farms to develop the paper packaging solution for the Gourmandine range.

“Coles has partnered with the Mitolo family for over 25 years, and we are pleased to work closely with them to develop this innovative paper packaging solution for the Gourmandine range available exclusively at Coles,” he says.

“We’re always looking for ways to reduce unnecessary and problematic plastic packaging in our stores, as well as reduce food waste, and this innovative new paper bag helps to achieve these sustainability ambitions.”

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