One of New Zealand’s oldest and largest fresh produce company’s, T&G Global is saying goodbye to plastic punnets in its Beekist® tomato range. The new sustainable punnets are up to 98% plastic free signalling the start of their journey to using 100% recyclable packaging, made from 100% renewable material by 2025.

Marking 121 years in business this year, T&G will replace Beekist® plastic punnets with cardboard to satisfy the growing demand for plastic-free produce by customers. They are working on a 100% cardboard punnet which allows visibility of the produce, something that is important to consumers. This will remove 5.5 million plastic punnets from supermarket shelves, generating 100 less tonnes of plastic that Kiwis currently take home every year.

“Like any enduring company, it’s innovation that will shape our success,” says Executive General Manager NZ Andrew Keaney, “so we’re looking at developing sustainable solutions across all areas of our business, including packaging.”

“We are constantly challenging ourselves to present solutions that satisfy our customers’ needs and our commitment to the environment,” Andrew says, “Our challenge, of course, with perishable products is they often need protecting for transportation and we also need to ensure the food is fresh and safe.”

“Sustainable packaging is a major strategic focus for the business and we are building our strategy to ensure we achieve this goal across the business and with our key suppliers.”

The cardboard punnets are PECF certified (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification). PECF is an international programme that promotes sustainable forest management and means the packaging can be tracked from forest to store.

Beekist® is the biggest tomato brand in New Zealand, with around 28.5 hectares grown in glasshouses in Mangere, Harrisville, Tuakau, Ohaupo and Reporoa.

Tomatoes have experienced a surge in sales in New Zealand, mainly due the range and colour of new varieties on offer including Angel®, Jellybean™ and Kumato®.

It’s no surprise that it is the company’s Beekist® brand that is spearheading the move to sustainable packaging as the brand has, at its heart, an old fashioned growing philosophy of recycled rainwater, pollination by good natured bumble bees, and tomatoes hand-picked from the vine.

T&G is encouraging people to separate the window of the punnet from the cardboard before popping the cardboard into their recycle bin and taking the plastic window to their local soft plastic recycle station. They are communicating that to customers on the packaging and via website, social media and promotional material.

The Beekist® range, in new cardboard punnets, are 100% recyclable and are available at supermarkets now.

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