Moulded fibre has been a sustainable technology for more than 100 years. And today, in the light of the very public discussion on reducing single-use plastic packaging, moulded fibre is more relevant than ever. That’s why our own people and those we work with share a vision for a more sustainable approach to packaging, an appreciation of consumer demand for an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic and an understanding of the business opportunities this can bring throughout the supply chain.
Although consumer packaging preferences look very different in Europe and North America, there are huge opportunities for growth in both markets.
So, we asked Morten Skovgaard Frank in Denmark and Karl Broderick in Canada, two people who joined Hartmann management in 2018, to share their views of egg packaging in the respective markets they serve.
Morten's view of egg packaging in Europe
Europe’s egg packaging business is diverse. First, there are the different styles of husbandry – cage, barn, free range and organic. Then there are market trends for animal welfare and GMO-free products which vary from region to region. And our approach to packaging has to – and does – accommodate this diversity.
One trend common to all of Europe right now, however, is the consumer- driven shift from plastic to moulded fibre. Egg producers, marketers and retailers are responding. As one retailer promotes their plans to reduce single-use plastic, the next follows in kind. Moulded fibre is, at present, the only realistic alternative to plastic – if you want to improve your environmental profile and win the approval of consumers. Study after study has shown that recycling plastic is difficult, costly and ineffective. Recycling moulded fibre on the other hand is a very well-established, stable process.
It’s a good time to be in egg packaging. And I feel privileged to be part of a company that can make a positive difference, not just for our customers, but also for consumers in the wider world.
Over 50% of egg packaging in North America is still Styrofoam/polystyrene foam and PET. This is the legacy from a time when there was much less focus on the environment. Now, however, consumers have learned about plastic islands in the oceans and how they are contaminating our food sources. It appears that it’s their buying habits which are forcing the market to change.
There are no downsides to switching from plastic to moulded fibre packaging. No compromises either. Moulded fibre egg cartons are stronger and more durable than plastic ones, so you get fewer breakages along the supply chain. We are innovating all the time. Take our Hybrid carton, for example. Its base is fibre, and its top paperboard, which gives you great machine performance, durability and some quality space for your messaging without the need for a label. So it has the best chance of making an impact in the store.
North America is vast. My aim is to make sure we provide our customers with the highest level of quality and service across every square mile. I’m proud to play my role in making this happen, because, when you look at performance, price, marketability and sustainability, fibre is a clear winner.
How can we protect our produce and planet?
Because "il cliente" is always right.
This Christmas, we're giving smallholder families a leg up in the egg-producing industry.