July 12, 2024

Local player in fresh produce market reduces use of plastic material by 62%

3 min read

Naturesmart has launched its unique, innovative, recyclable, and biodegradable[1] fresh produce packaging.

“Our recent packaging aligns strongly with our core value of sustainability,” says Nico van der Merwe, CEO and co-founder, Naturesmart. “This further solidifies our position as a forerunner in the reduction of plastic usage and its carbon footprint whilst simultaneously ensuring cost-effective solutions.

Nico van der Merwe, CEO and co-founder of Naturesmart

Its latest cost-effective design has seen Naturesmart achieve a 62% reduction in the use of plastic material and a 1.5% decrease in carbon omission when compared to packaging alternatives.

Consisting of punnet, ink and lid – the closed design reduces any risk of foreign body contamination whilst still allowing for efficient ventilation.  Its specially designed airflow prevents dehydration and allows sufficient cold air to enter the punnet that, in turn, ensures a consistent cold chain environment of benefit to the produce. The slick and modern design follows the latest trends, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing product that further ups the appeal of the fresh produce content. 

In addition to its components being recyclable and/ or biodegradable – one third of the entire unit is itself made from recycled material. Procured from sustainable and renewable sources, ‘food safe’ paper ensures that the punnet is FSC certified whilst the lid, manufactured from rPET (recycled PET – polyethylene terephthalate), is itself 100% recyclable. 

Naturesmart is proud to be associated with Mpact the largest packaging and recycling business in South Africa as we strive to continually reduce our impact on the environment. 

“Packaging is at the heart of everyone’s increasing concern for our environment and its sustainability.”

A South African fresh produce retail supplier and exporter, Naturesmart trades in fruit and vegetables – sourcing its produce directly from farmers in Namibia and throughout South Africa. “We operate as a critical link in the fresh produce community and supply chain – between the farmers and consumers, the produce and marketplace, the retailers and logistics teams,” explains van der Merwe.  Its role – to ensure that the freshest quality food is moved from the farm to the consumer’s table in as fast, sustainable, and cost-effective a manner possible.

Naturesmart connects the fresh produce with the most suitable retailers to ensure best price for both parties and that minimum costs are incurred with the smallest impact on the environment and least amount of waste possible.  

“We are dedicated to sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices, optimal packaging in conjunction with our logistics partners to further reduce our carbon footprint when transporting, minimising single-use plastic in the final packaging and the use of technology to streamline, enhance and reduce any impact on our environment,” continues van der Merwe. Naturesmart is also dedicated to the support of farmers who share these same values. 

“We believe that sustainability is to be able to continue existing and to co-exist as humans with the environment,” continues van der Merwe. In line with this, Naturesmart has created its ‘GrowGreen’ logo that encapsulates its focus on protecting the earth and is in line with its values – to be launched later this year. 

“Packaging is at the heart of everyone’s increasing concern for our environment and its sustainability,” says van der Merwe. This is evidenced by increasing regulations, including the recently gazetted ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ (EPR) policy that sees additional responsibility for parties involved in various industries to further regulate and improve waste management and sustainability.

“We aim to continue, with the help of technology, to provide packaging solutions that address this concern without compromising cost, delivery, or quality of product,” concludes van der Merwe. 

“Naturesmart is at the forefront of innovation and new technology. They live and breathe sustainability.  In turn, our range of fresh produce packaging solutions makes for a perfect fit. We are honoured to partner with a forward-thinking company such as Naturesmart and to work with them to create more environmentally friendly, and fit for purpose, alternative packaging formats,” adds Wouter Heunis, technical representative at Freshpact, a division of Mpact. 

Naturesmart is a member of SIZA (Sustainable Agriculture in South Africa), FSA (Farm Sustainability Assessment) and GLOBAL G.A.P (a trademark and set of standards for good agricultural practices).

[1] Biodegradable refers to the paper punnet and not the lid.

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