New biodegradable barrier reduces carbon footprint of ready meal retail
A biodegradable barrier tray which has been developed by KCC Packaging will enable retailers to move away from carbon-hungry CPET and aluminum throughout ready meal retail, according to its developer, Chartered Environmentalist Kevin Clarke.
The sustainable solution is ovenable, microwaveable and compostable, and according to Clarke, “does the same job on the same equipment as the trays that are currently in use.”
The tray has been tested for durability, wet strength and effectiveness in cooking and Clarke believes a key driver for the first supermarket to change to the new method will be from the finance department rather than the packaging department.
“I understand through many hundreds of conversations over the years, that buyers need more than a great sales story about carbon-friendliness to enable them to make such a step change in the way they pack many millions of items. The finances need to stack up too,” says Clarke.
“That’s where the finance director’s interest will be sparked. He or she is increasingly going to be looking to reduce the number of carbon credits the organization needs to purchase, and ready meal packaging is currently a big fat negative on the ‘green’ balance sheet,” adds Clarke
“We have been told by buyers at most of the UK’s top food retailers that this is a solution they have been looking for, but it’s not a conversation we are having at high enough levels. We are looking for impetus through Pro2Pack to drive this innovation home, and to make a real difference to the way the UK uses sustainable solutions in place of the depletion of the world’s precious oil resources,” says Clarke
KCC will also be showing cornstarch disposable cutlery which has been successfully introduced into millions of salad packs, again reducing carbon footprint. “Research shows that those who buy readymeal salads for dashboard- and desk-dining rarely recycle the packaging. So the best solution is to use a material such as cornstarch which biodegrades in landfill,” explains Clarke.
The company can offer bespoke cutlery designs to suit individual requirements.
KCC’s popular range of Locksafe™ watertight, microwaveable containers, its Delibox range of clear, hinge-lidded salad containers and its unique Hot Box which keeps takeaway meals hot for around 45 minutes, will all be shown on the stand.