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DURBAN - Woolworths’ new speciality tomato range is now packaged in a kraft box base which saves 77* tons of plastic and a widely recyclable clarified polypropylene lid that will save 128* tonnes of currently not recycled thermoformed PET from going to landfills.  

Working closely with suppliers and packaging manufacturers it has been a four year journey to launch packaging that ticks all the boxes in terms of both sustainability and quality packaging that protects.  

Robust yet flexible, polypropylene is widely recycled.  The challenge though when it comes to using polypropylene for food packaging has been its opaqueness.  Especially when it comes to fresh produce like tomatoes, customers want to see what they are buying.  

Working closely with their packaging supplier, Woolworths has brought clarified polypropylene packaging to their food market this has resulted in the herb, micro-herb and sprout punnets also switching to recyclable punnets and potentially more fresh produce packaging. 

The kraft board container is FSC certified and made from 65 percent recycled paper and all the necessary information is printed on the kraft trays instead of additional stickers.  Kraft board is both ‘breathable’ and absorbent, so it absorbs excess moisture, keeping the tomatoes fresher for longer.  This increases the shelf-life of Woolworths’ tomatoes by a full day and reduces potential food waste.

"Woolworths tomato packaging is a great example of finding a truly sustainable solution that at the same time enhances the purpose of food packaging," said Latiefa Behardien, Woolworths Head of Foods Technology, Safety and Good Business Journey.  

Behardien added, "We have some very ambitious sustainability commitments – for all our packaging to either be reusable or recyclable by 2022, and this is a major milestone on that journey". 

* On an annual basis