• "We're so proud": Gary Lee, ProSeal, with the APPMA Award of Excellence for Customer Collaboration.
    "We're so proud": Gary Lee, ProSeal, with the APPMA Award of Excellence for Customer Collaboration.

ProSeal Australia took home one of five 2019 APPMA Awards of Excellence for its collaboration with Fresh Berry Co on a sustainable strawberry punnet.

The punnet, made up of a compostable pulp tray from North American supplier CKF and film from British company KM Packaging, was launched in September of last year after much consultation with the customer, according to Gary Lee, sales manager at ProSeal.

“We were speaking to Fresh Berry Co, one of the local strawberry growers in Victoria, and they were looking for something a bit different – they were looking to reduce the amount of plastic in their packaging. We showed them the CKF punnet, and instantly John Pettinella, one of the owners, firmly believed that this was a product for the future,” said Lee.

Lee told PKN that, after product trials, Fresh Berry Co and ProSeal generated some samples which Pettinella demonstrated to major retailers before the product’s launch.

“ProSeal were sealing the film to the trays, and we started with an initial semi-automatic machine to get the initial samples out before moving to a fully automatic solution for mass production,” he said.

While the typical clamshell strawberry punnet is made of an APET or RPET material, the compostable punnet completely eliminates the plastic from the base, said Lee.

“The move to top seal just on a standard APET or RPET punnet will reduce plastic packaging by thirty-five to forty per cent. When you use a compostable base, that reduces plastic weight by up to ninety-six per cent,” he said.

The customer collaboration award came as a surprise to Lee and the ProSeal team, who were grateful to be acknowledged for their hard work.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever submitted anything like this. We were delighted to accept the award, and there’s a lot of people in the industry doing really fantastic work, both in the reduction of plastics and collaborating with customers.

“We were thrilled to just be finalists, so to actually win it is absolutely outstanding. We’re so proud,” said Lee.

Food & Drink Business

The Australian Food Pact is the latest addition to the arsenal of projects and R&D working to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Goodman Fielder and Coles Group are four of the founding signatories, joined by Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, ARECO Pacific, and McCain Foods.

With the removal of restrictions across states and transitioning into a COVID-19 norm, Woolworths has announced all team members must be vaccinated in the coming months to keep working.

Asahi Beverages has expanded its initiative to buy barley direct from farmers, with seven New South Wales growers now supplying the company’s Yatala brewery in Queensland.