BioPak creating sustainable oyster packaging
Our parent company BioPak has teamed up with Blue Harvest, an Australian seafood specialist and marketing agency that works with producers of Australian oysters, prawns, mussels, and pipis. Until now, the only option for packaging has been single-use packaging. Given that plastics are causing such a huge challenge for our oceans, this did not sit well with Blue Harvest, who wanted to find an alternative solution.
What sustainability initiatives do you have in your business? Does your business have an impact on the environment that needs to be considered and managed?
We are currently in the process of gaining third party sustainability accreditation for each of our producers; programs that provide transparency and accountability for how we produce, and drive continuous improvement. For wild capture seafood this is Marine Stewardship Certification (MSC) and for the aquaculture products Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP). Oyster farming is an incredibly passive style of food production, as the oysters grow from consuming the natural food in their environment, and don’t require artificial feed inputs, which is one of the main reasons we want to get the final leg of their journey to people’s homes right.
Where does BioPak fit into your business offering and what difference does eco-friendly packaging make for your business?
Biopak has been really responsive to our needs; a great company to work with. Not only have they provided us with an alternative to the plastic tray, they have worked with us to design a completely new solution that looks and feels premium, and presents our oysters in a much better way. The number of single use plastic trays currently used in Australia to sell oysters runs into the millions, and although we are in the early stages of the product’s launch, this has massive potential to slash that use.
What challenges and opportunities is your business/industry currently facing and has sustainable packaging contributed to any of these in a positive way?
Being in the seafood industry our livelihoods depend on clean and healthy oceans. Seafood transportation does however have it’s challenges, as it is a highly temperature sensitive product that perishes quickly after harvest. The solution to this has historically been using materials like polystyrene to provide insulation, and plastics to waterproof. We are really trying to turn this on its head, and the biopak tray is a huge part of this effort. We want to get our products to consumers faster, more regularly and in packaging that is either compostable or fully recyclable in a quality condition that is not only as good as the old school packaging approaches, but better. We don’t need oyster trays that last 100 years as fresh oysters will be eaten within a week.
Has there been any change in brand perception since making the switch?
There has been a really warm embrace from many in the seafood industry for both Blue Harvest and BioPak for taking the initiative with this sustainable, premium looking packaging. We are seeing images of the product being shared via social media by those in the industry – both producers and customers.
How did the customers perceive the new packaging?
We believe that the trays will not only give our customers the peace of mind that they are purchasing a product in sustainable packaging but also give them confidence in the quality and freshness of the oysters as each lidded tray allows for minimal handling from the processor through to the consumer.
How has the custom solution helped your operations?
The packs have provided another benefit to our customers over and above providing a more sustainable solution. Historically seafood retailers have had to take the plastic trays from their window when ordered, then wrap them in cling wrap, and then butcher paper, a process that takes time, causes waste, and leaves the product looking tacky. The handy clip on lid that comes with the new tray takes all of this process out, and really does leave the oysters looking their best.
What do you want people to know about your brand and your sustainability initiatives?
We are fortunate that we have the ability to earn a living from our oceans, and see ourselves as stewards of this environment. We are committed to producing our products with as little impact on the ocean as possible, and will always be looking for ways to further improve this.
Information from BioPak’s website.
Post by Tallis Baker.
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