Lidl and Kaufland are rolling out an innovative plant-based paper packaging for its fruit and vegetables segment, following a successful pilot phase.
The environmental division of the Schwarz Group, PreZero, has developed new sustainable fibre and paper packaging solutions in association with OutNature.
The retailer has introduced organic cress in the new packaging, which is currently available in Lidl stores in southern Germany. It will soon be available nationwide in all Kaufland branches across Germany, the company noted.
The initiative marks the beginning of a number of other products at Kaufland adopting the packaging in the future, such as organic tomatoes, apples, and mushrooms.
The innovative paper packaging is resource-efficient and can be used in a variety of ways in the food and non-food sector.
Fibre from the silphia plant forms the basis for the new packaging, with regional cultivation of the plant reducing transport routes and the associated CO2 emissions.
In addition, small amounts of water and energy are used in the treatment process and the fibre is extracted without the use of chemicals.
The plant also offers farmers a future-proof perspective, as it is insect-friendly, stores CO2 in the soil, and protects it from wind and water erosion.
The plant was previously only used for producing biogas. However, OutNature has succeeded in separating the plant fibres, using a biothermal process before bioenergy generation.
OutNature received the German Packaging Award in the 'New Material' category at the end of 2020 for the idea of producing sustainable packaging from fibre from the silphia plant
Another award followed in early 2021 with the renowned WorldStar Award from the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) in the 'Packaging Materials & Components' category.
Further research should give the paper additional barrier properties, for example against water or fat, the company noted.
The new type of paper can thus become a possible replacement product for plastic packaging in the future and thus contribute to the vision of the international group-wide plastic strategy – REset Plastic.