A new flexible packaging business has entered the ANZ market with a suite of bio-based certified compostable pack formats for food and other products. Grounded Packaging co-founder Josh Kempton spoke to PKN.


Winning the war on plastic waste is the catch-cry of a new trans-Tasman business led by entrepreneurs Ben Grant and Josh Kempton. Their startup company Grounded Packaging was launched last year, and is now poised for growth following a successful pilot program with New Zealand-based organic chicken company, Bostock Brothers. Grounded has also conducted successful trials for a number of other businesses in Australasia.


Co-founder Josh Kempton tells PKN Grounded is one of the few companies in the region to offer a range of compostable flexible packaging options made from bio-based materials.


“All of our packaging is bio-based and certified to European or OK Compost compostability standards for both home and industrial composting, with its look, feel and functional properties designed to mirror that of their non-compostable counterparts,” Kempton says, adding that the range is currently in the process of attaining Australasian certification.


The laminate films are sourced in Europe, and the packaging is printed and converted in Germany and Italy. Despite being produced offshore, Kempton says the pricing Grounded can offer is competitive.


“We're able to bring to market a very cost-effective solution thanks to the high end technology that is used by our international suppliers.”


Kempton says the range is fully customisable, and includes popular, functional items such as stand-up pouches, snack wrappers and produce bags in various finishes, which he says are all fully compostable and readily branded to customer specifications.


In addition to offering custom manufacture and printing for established businesses, Grounded is about to launch a range of 100% compostable stand-up pouches and other flexible pack formats that will be available in smaller quantities in order to provide a solution for a part of the market that is currently poorly served, according to Kempton.


“We've identified a growing need among startups and small businesses for short-run flexible packaging, and to this end we have already started manufacturing our own range of compostable packaging to meet more modest packaging orders,” Kempton says.


Kempton, who has a packaging industry background, and co-founder Ben Grant, who hails from the food industry, say they are on a mission to educate small, medium and large-sized businesses on smart solutions that benefit both the company and the customer as they transition to plastic-free.


Grant was co-owner of multi-million dollar NZ restaurant chain Bird on a Wire, which sold to an Australian coffee chain this year. During his five-year tenure, he drove the company's sustainable business practices, leading it to become the first food business in New Zealand to exclusively use compostable take-away packaging for all its items.


“[In the foodservice sector] you become acutely aware of the size and scale of the wake you leave throughout all parts of the supply chain,” Grant says. “At the end of the day, you can’t put a price on the planet, and a positive reputation.”


It was this simple transition, Grant says, which inspired him to create a business with co-founder Kempton, one that, as he puts it, "has the size and scale to support thousands of companies across Australasia in their efforts to implement circular economic processes and ultimately, help clean up our oceans".


“Grounded’s vision is for Australasia to gradually replace the use of single-use plastics throughout the supply chain of commercial production and retail environments for good,” Kempton says.


“Whether the motivation is business, or customer demand, replacing soft plastics with compostable flexible packaging is the future, and our team of specialists are proud to be leading by example in this market and supporting companies through the process.”

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