Talking Fibre Punnets: An Interview with Jamie O’Dell


Sustainable packaging options have never been in greater demand as growers, retailers and consumers all increasingly look for fresh thinking on environmentally friendly solutions.

Visy’s innovative fibre punnets can be made from FSC® (FSC® - C008345) certified fibre, allowing customers to use the FSC® logo and provide a clear signal of the packaging’s sustainability credentials to consumers. The fibre packaging shape and format also allows for maximised branding opportunities and increased consumer engagement.

We chatted with Jamie O’Dell, Visy National Account Manager about the fibre punnets and what’s coming next in the market. 

Q. Jamie, we’re seeing a significant increase in the push from retailers and consumers for more sustainable packaging options. Can you talk to us about that push?

A. End consumers are driving demand for sustainable packaging solutions. We’ve seen research where up to 70% of consumers want to buy their fruit and vegetables in sustainable packaging* – and that’s even during the COVID-19 pandemic – the environmental credentials are still front and centre. It’s really driving the big retailers to look at different options.

Q. You and the team have been trialling the fibre punnets. How has that gone?

A. There are multiple benefits to the fibre punnet that have come to light during the trials we’ve conducted. Obviously, the sustainability angle is a big driver. But it’s more than that.

For example, because of the format of the pack there are a lot more print options. The packs can be custom printed and this opens a lot of doors for branding and consumer engagement. Even little things like being able to print the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®), logo on the packs – that provides the consumers in store with a really easily identifiable link – it’s like a green light for them – here’s an environmentally friendly package.

Many consumers prefer to buy their fruit and produce pre-packed. It’s faster for a start. But especially at this time, with increased hygiene sensitivities in the community, consumers in store like the fact that the produce has not been handled by other consumers. Added to that we can include Visy Connect tamper proof technology to even further protect the produce, providing consumers with even greater confidence.

The packs also cut down on produce being damaged in store – I think we can probably all relate to picking a loose apple off a pile and inadvertently dislodging a few on to the floor. Pre-packed options help negate that damage.

Q. What will we be seeing next in this space?

A. I think we’re just going to see more and more. I wouldn’t be surprised if eventually we see the big retailers moving to replace a range of different products in the fruit and produce aisles.

Beyond the move for sustainable packaging in the retail environment, we’ll also see a greater proportion of produce purchased online. E-commerce is a quickly increasing market at the moment.

We’re continuing to work with our retail partners and growers. Our approach is collaborative. We like to partner with our customers so we can better understand what they want, what their supply chain demands might be, and then build collaborative tailored solutions in response to those needs.

At the moment we’re working on larger formats for fibre punnets, up to one kilogram capacity. We like to say we’re helping our customers create what’s next… it’s a really exciting and rewarding space to be working in.

Read more about Visy’s fibre punnets here

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Source: Visy