• L-R: Peter Wadewitz, Danny Mitrousidis, Hon Jing Lee, Ilias Antonas, George Antonas and JP Drake.
    L-R: Peter Wadewitz, Danny Mitrousidis, Hon Jing Lee, Ilias Antonas, George Antonas and JP Drake.

Two South Australian produce and packaging businesses have developed a 100 per cent biodegradable compostable cucumber wrap.

The challenge was put to George Antonas, director of IG Fresh Produce, and Scott Morton of Peak Fresh, by John-Paul Drake from independent supermarket business Drakes Supermarkets. Drake wanted a compostable wrap for fruit and vegetables instead of the traditional shrink-wrap.

“There has been more and more talk with customers asking why there can’t be an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic wrap and they are right to ask that question,” Drake said.

“We are really excited that George and his team have invented this compostable wrap, which is a huge game changer for the supermarket and grocery industry. Not only can we continue to provide the freshest possible produce but we know that the wrap is 100 per cent compostable and won’t end up in our oceans or stuck in landfill.”

The product development took 12 months, with investment and export interest from Qatar. Antonas has plans for the 100 per cent biodegradable and compostable wrap to include other fresh fruit packaging and meat products over the next 12 months.

“We have had strong interest from a potential investment partner in Qatar who travelled to Adelaide for the launch of this product with Drakes. The potential for this compostable wrap is limitless, and the interest from the rest of the country and internationally is fantastic to see.” Antonas said.

“We could make a significant change in the world with this product.”

Dow predicts the plastic food packaging industry is set to be worth $370 billion by 2020, and 2013 research by the NSW Environment Protection Authority found the density of plastic in Australian waters could be up to 40,000 pieces per square kilometre, Drake said.

Drakes Supermarkets will be trialling the product in South Australia over the next three weeks before the product will be made available to other supermarket chains. Drakes has 38 stores in South Australia.

Drakes Supermarkets fresh foods general manager Tim Cartwright said: “We are always striving to provide our customers a better experience, and we couldn’t be more excited for our customers to be the first involved in this new plastic-free initiative which was born out of South Australia.”

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