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French Law Sparks Innovation in Packaging for Dutch Fresh Produce Companies



Europe is gearing up to pass legislation aimed at reducing the plastic waste issue, with France taking the lead in implementing stringent measures. This move is prompting Dutch and Belgian fresh produce companies to adapt to the new regulations set forth by France.

One such Dutch vegetable supplier, Versland, has innovated by packing their radishes in a paper flow pack designed in collaboration with Argos Packaging & Protection. This change was spurred by the ban on selling certain fruits and vegetables in plastic packaging weighing under 1.5kg, which came into effect on January 1, 2022.

The law has since been modified and now imposes stricter regulations on plastic packaging. As of this year, complying with these rules is mandatory. However, there are a few exceptions to the ban, such as for fully ripe fruits and 29 specific fruits and vegetables including fresh herbs, lettuce, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, and soft fruits.

Versland responded to a request from France to find plastic alternatives and began packaging radishes in paper bags. Despite the challenges, such as increased costs and slower packing times compared to plastic, the company has been able to adapt by utilizing existing machinery with minor adjustments.

Argos Packaging & Protection, the company behind the innovative paper flow pack, recognized the importance of product visibility. Their packaging design features a brown virgin paper bag with full-color printing and a cellulose window, mirroring the appearance of the original plastic flow pack closely.

During the development process, lasting over two years, feedback from companies like Versland played a crucial role in perfecting the paper flow pack. Versland reported that the shelf life of radishes in the new packaging was comparable to that of traditional plastic flow packs.

Argos is actively engaging with various partners to test the paper flow packs on different products. This sustainable packaging solution, entirely recyclable and made from a single raw material, is attracting interest from other countries like Belgium and gaining traction among retailers and consumers seeking eco-friendly alternatives.

With the increasing demand for sustainable packaging solutions and the changing legislative landscape, companies like Versland and Argos are pioneering innovative packaging designs that align with environmental goals while maintaining product quality and visibility.

Rachel Adams

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