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Farmers and Packaging Companies Discuss the Benefits and Challenges of Sustainable Produce Packaging

by Meaghan Donovan |

With its consumers and retailers demanding more sustainable packaging, the produce industry has begun to turn its eye toward sustainable packaging options. Earlier this year, many North American fresh berry producers committed to switching to 100 percent recycle-ready clamshell packaging by 2025. 

Farms that sell directly to consumers also see the benefits of sustainable produce packaging. Many organic farms consider the use of recyclable or compostable packaging as aligned with their commitment to maintain and improve natural resources.

On October 20, 2020, farmers and representatives from sustainable produce packaging companies joined the CCOF Foundation for a webinar that delved into various aspects of sustainable produce packaging for farms that sell directly to consumers.

Things to Consider & Marketing Strategies Integrating Pre-Packaged Produce

Jamie Collins from Serendipity Farms started off the webinar by highlighting key things to consider when moving to new sustainable packaging options. She emphasized the importance of testing out new packaging to see how it works for your produce and market outlets. She then showcased how to create beautiful displays with pre-packed produce that draw in customers and keep them moving through your farm stand or farmers’ market stall. 

Options for Sustainable Produce Packaging

The second half of the webinar highlighted different options for sustainable produce packaging. After a review of many companies that offer sustainable packaging for produce, representatives from Sambrailo Packaging and Sun Sugar Farms/Sustainable Produce Container educated the audience about their sustainable produce packaging options.

Benefits and Challenges of Sustainable Produce Packaging

Lively discussion ensued as speakers addressed both the benefits and challenges of sustainable produce packaging. Speaker Linda Fritz, farmer and creator of the Sustainable Produce Container, highlighted product pricing strategies to help offset the generally higher cost of sustainable packaging. Sara Lozano, manager of marketing and product development at Sambrailo, provided strategies for small farms interested in using sustainable packaging, but who have neither the funds nor the storage space for a custom order. 

Speakers also discussed the challenges of finding sustainable packaging that works well for leafy greens over an extended period of time, noting that this is still an area of research and development. 

All speakers noted the positive environmental benefits of sustainable packaging and the generally positive response from consumers. 

Watch the Webinar Recording

If you missed the live webinar broadcast, you can watch the recording on the CCOF YouTube Channel.

Upcoming Webinars

The Sustainable Produce Packaging webinar is part of the CCOF Foundation’s Farmers’ Marketing: Tools for Success series. Join us on November 17, 2020 for the next webinar in the series, Farm and Food Business Marketing Collaborations, which will delve into collaborative marketing strategies that assist both farms and food businesses adjusting to COVID-19 challenges. For more information and to register, visit the CCOF website.

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Funding for the Farmers Marketing Tools for Success series was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM180100XXXXG055.