Eco-friendly food packaging: an expectation not a bonus

Concerns over the negative effects of plastic waste are increasing. As a result, consumers are changing their buying habits. This means eco-friendly food packaging is fast becoming an expectation not a bonus. As a result, recycled plastic trays (RPETs) and skin packed cardboard bases are feeling the love.

Eco-friendly food packaging – The stats:

A recent FMCG Gurus study shows that 52% of global consumers believe packaging products contain too much plastic. This was seen as a waste of both money and resources. [1].

This was backed up by a recent Kerry market survey. The study included 14,000 consumers over 18 countries. It highlighted consumer preferences for products which positively impact the planet:[2]

“…49% of consumers are considering sustainability when buying food and drink, with sustainable packaging and environmental preservation now standard drivers for many”

However, the study also shows that when it comes to packaging just being eco-friendly is no longer enough.

Just being eco-friendly is no longer enough

As Soumya Nair, Insights Director at Kerry states this, has “positioned sustainability as a must-have rather than a differentiator among consumers.[3]

So, if eco-friendly packaging now only meets the minimum level of expectation – what more do consumers want?

To win consumers over, eco-friendly food packaging also needs to be safe, convenient and look appealing. At Vacpack our range of skin packed cardboard base systems can help you tick all the boxes.

Read on to find out more about what consumers want or use the links to jump to your eco-friendly product of choice…

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So, what more do consumers want

To win consumers over, eco-friendly food packaging also needs to be safe, convenient and look appealing, notes FMCG Gurus[5]. 


Globally, 49% of consumers say their perceptions on packaging has changed due to COVID-19 and safety concerns. This means “packaging innovations based around safety and sustainability will be particularly appealing to consumers”, explains Mike Hughes, Director of Insights for FMCG Gurus.


The FMCG study also notes that 33% of global consumers find it difficult to get products out of packaging. Instead, consumers want packaging to be user-friendly and to “cause minimal hassle and disruption to their daily lives.”  

Visual Appeal

Packaging shapes the way a product or brand is perceived. In fact, 50% of global consumers associate stand-out packaging with a higher quality/premium product. As a result, packaging needs to “have functional benefits as well as emotional attributes that capture consumer attention”, says Hughes.

At Vacpack our range of recycled plastic trays (RPETS) and skin packed cardboard base systems can help you tick all the boxes.

Read on to find out more about the benefits of eco-friendly food packaging or use the links to jump to your eco-friendly product of choice…

Follow the links below:

How your business benefits from eco-friendly food packaging

At Vacpack both our RPETs and skinpacked cardboard bases can help you reap the benefits of ticking all the eco-friendly food packaging boxes.

These systems can help your business create a more user friendly end-product with the following benefits:

  • A smaller carbon footprint
  • Easier to dispose of
  • Decreased waste to landfill
  • Decreased consumer guilt
  • Increased convenience
  • Visually attractive
  • Ethically appealing
  • Hygienic
  • Leaks, damage and contamination free
  • Increased brand recognition

Read on to find out more about RPETs or use the links to jump to your eco-friendly product of choice…

Follow the links below:

Eco-friendly food packaging: Recycled Plastic Trays (RPETs):

Packaging meat or fish requires producers and suppliers to adhere to stringent hygiene levels. As a result, we have found that food retailers often prefer plastic trays sealed with clear wrap when packaging these items. However with environmental concerns on the rise amongst consumers these trays now need to be eco-friendly as well as safe and attractive.

At Vacpack, we have worked hard to ensure our recycled plastic trays not only look the part but strike a balance between aesthetics, food protection and being eco-friendly. This is what makes our range of RPET trays the perfect eco-friendly food packaging solution. The plastics used in our trays avoid mixing recycled content with new resin and clear trays are 100% RPET and fully recyclable.

RPET Trays – The Benefits:

For fresh meat and fish, Vacpack’s RPET trays provide a hygienic, light weight and attractive chiller display while protecting meat and fish products from leaks, damage and contamination.

Products look great while make customers feel comfortable that products are hygienic and safe. As a result, consumers can feel good about purchasing your product while raising awareness of recycling.

View the brochure to see more benefits and features

RPET Trays – How they work:

Traditional methods head straight to landfill

Traditional food packaging production has little consideration for sustainability or community impacts:

Raw materials are mined -> Used -> Dumped in a landfill.

This creates high volumes of waste and quickly burns through our finite resources.

At Vacpack we choose a cyclical system

Wherever possible, products are made from 100% recycled PET and designed to be fully recyclable.

For example, Clear RPET can be readily collected through all council collections and recycled in New Zealand.

This reduces the carbon footprint of the packaging itself as well as that associated with shipping to overseas markets. With Covid creating raw material shortages supporting local and sourcing products from inside New Zealand is yet another bonus.

Read on to find out more about cardboard bases or use the links to jump to your eco-friendly product of choice…

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The eco-friendly food packaging solution: skin packed cardboard bases.

At Vacpack, we believe skin packing using cardboard bases is the answer for many applications. That is why we are working with our European partners, Frimaq to bring this world leading technology to New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

Skin packed cardboard bases – The Benefits:

The system maximizes the use of biodegradable and recyclable materials. As a result, these products can help reduce plastic waste by as much as 80%.

This means it reduces the carbon footprint of your business. The end-product is also more user-friendly and easier to dispose of. As a result, it decreases consumer guilt while increasing convenience. The result is an attractive final product that is both visually and ethically appealing to consumers.

Bases can also be pre-printed with individualised business logos and images to increase visual appeal, brand awareness and consumer recognition.

Currently, Vacpack is the only New Zealand company that can offer such a great range of innovative machinery and cardboard base products. This is due to our unique relationship with Frimaq.

Frimaq / Vacpack systems – How they work:

With the Frimaq / Vacpack systems, food producers can create pre-formed trays to fit their product. Preformed trays or boards can also be placed into any of the systems with product on/in. Food is then hermetically sealed with a crystal-clear transparent barrier film. The vacuumed barrier film creates an atmosphere-free environment. As a result, food stays fresher for longer.

This makes it ideal for items such as meat, fish, ready-meals, marinated products, delicatessen meats, cheese and poultry. It also acts to lock in flavours, helping items such as marinated meats reach their full potential..

“The packaging literally fits the product like a second skin. This creates a stable packaging environment. As a result, it helps reduce waste, enhance quality and shelf appeal – All while reducing plastic waste by up to 80%.”

Read on to find out more about the Vacpack / Frimaq systems or use the links to jump to your eco-friendly product of choice…

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Eco-friendly food packaging: 3 Easy Options with Vacpack

Option 1: Easy to use flat board trays

Vacpack supplies flat die cut cardboard as a simple first option. Food is placed on the board then skin film is adhered to the pack. This eliminates all outside atmosphere, extending the safe shelf life of the product. 

This system is ideal for packaging products such as salmon and other fish & meat products, steak, mince, sausages, bacon, poultry, delicatessen items, cheese, ready meals and more.

The most common board sizes are 180mm x 260mm and 180mm x 250mm. For smaller production, choose our Model Maxi Skin +40 tray and board packer.

For larger production we have many automated options including our TSA linear systems. 

Option 2: Form and seal trays with the MC-1000

The MC-1000 Tray Cutter / Former works as a stand-alone tray-making machine. However, as a linear automatic machine it can also provide the first stage of a larger packing and sealing system.

A) Stand-alone tray Maker:

Use as a stand-alone tray-maker involves 3 easy steps:

  1. Trays are die cut from a roll of board.
  2. The board is pressed to make a formed tray.
  3. A light film is adhered to the board.

With the correct tooling, these trays can be used as individual bases on any tray-sealing machine.

First stage of an integrated linear system:

As part of a larger integrated linear system the MC-1000 allows producers to:

  1. Make the tray
  2. Place product in the tray.
  3. Film seal the top with either a top or a skin film.

Option 3: Thermoformer, with cardboard base:

A major benefit of this system is that it creates an atmosphere-controlled pack. This improves shelf life and eliminates any contamination or liquid spillage. 

The trays created are similar in shape to polystyrene trays currently used in New Zealand supermarkets. This familiar look and feel builds on existing consumer good-will with the added incentive of purchasing a product with eco-friendly food packaging.  

View video: Thermoformer Frimaq

View video: TFF Cardboard Die Cut Tray

View video: TFF Skin +60 Carton

Frimaq Thermoformed Cardboard Base

Contact Vacpack for eco-friendly food packaging options:

Reference Links:

[1] FMCG Gurus: The Role of packaging in 2021

[2] 49% of Consumers Consider Sustainability When Purchasing Food, Beverages

[3] Consumers want food and drink that has ‘positive impact’ on the environment