Leading Scottish fruit grower Angus Soft Fruits is introducing new packaging as it moves away from single-use plastic and works towards becoming a net-zero company.
The company, based near Arbroath, hopes to eliminate more than 150 tonnes of single-use plastic from its supply chain over the next 12 months by switching to 100% recycled material in its punnets of strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
The company said it has worked with its punnet supplier, Waddington Europe, to develop a punnet which is made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) and fully recyclable after use.
“We have ambitious sustainability plans here at Angus Soft Fruits across packaging, carbon emissions, biodiversity and food waste, and we are pleased to announce that almost all the berries we supply will now be packaged in 100% rPET punnets,” said Angus Soft Fruits’ newly appointed sustainability coordinator, Catherine Russell.
“Previously our punnets were made from 80% recycled materials as it has always been a challenge for the food industry to find sufficient volumes of clean, high-quality plastics that can be recycled and enter the market as food grade containers.
“We’re pleased that our long-term suppliers, Waddington Europe, have achieved this and we look forward to working closely with them to continue to promote circularity in soft fruit packaging.”
Ms Russell said the company was also looking to increase the monitoring of biodiversity, food waste and carbon emissions on its growers’ farms, as well as taking steps to significantly reduce food waste.
“Ultimately, we want to be net zero throughout our supply chain, from grower to customer, by 2040 and we want to share the best practices that we develop with our overseas growers,” she added.
“Moving our punnets sold in the UK to 100% rPET is a step in the right direction to achieving these goals.”
Waddington Europe managing director, Eduardo Gomes, hailed the company’s partnership with Angus Soft Fruits and said: “We are delighted to be assisting them on their sustainability journey.
“The majority of our food-grade, high quality rPET is sourced as locally as possible from the UK and Ireland; some is also ethically sourced from our European recycling partners.”
Angus Soft Fruits was formed in 1994 by the Porter and Gray families.
Its growers are primarily located in Angus, Fife and Perthshire, and it also sources fruit from growers in the Netherlands, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, the US and South America.
Last year the company produced enough berries to fill more than 42 million plastic punnets for sale in leading supermarkets across the UK.