Increasing urbanisation and changing lifestyles mean that more and more food is consumed on the go and snacking is big business. Much of this food is packaged in mixed-material flexible plastics which are difficult to recycle and so typically end up in landfill sites. However, UK-based Wallaroo Foods is taking a stance to try and reduce the vast plastic mountain and has launched a range of dried fruit snacks in home compostable packaging.
Single portions of organic fruit (coconut chips, pineapple chunks or mango slices) are packaged in bags made from a paper/metalised cellulose laminate printed with fun, tribal-style fruit characters. Paper on the outside gives a natural look and feel, while barrier protection is provided by metalised cellulose film on the inside. The aluminium content of the laminate is low enough that it does not affect compostability by more than a few days and the packaging is certified as home compostable by Vincotte, signifying that it can be disposed of in a garden or home composter and will break down within 26 weeks at an ambient temperature.
Plastic packaging waste has become a hot topic in the last 12 months as consumers have become more aware of the impact on the environment and small, ethical companies like Wallaroo Foods want to be seen to be doing their bit to reduce the load. GlobalData’s Q1 2018 global consumer survey revealed that 45% of UK consumers would buy products more often if they were packaged without any plastic at all, and in August a petition with over 310,000 signatures was handed in to PepsiCo calling on manufacturers to either create a recyclable pack format or stop using plastic in its crisp packets. PepsiCo’s Walkers brand produces 11 million crisp packets a day at its Leicester factory in the UK; that’s an awful lot of packaging heading for landfill. There’s no way that people are going to stop snacking but we’re likely to start seeing a move to more sustainable materials like Wallaroo’s compostable bags if ethically-conscious consumers keep putting pressure on brand owners to take responsibility for the packaging they produce.