Del Monte is working to develop a compostable fruit cup as well as beverage and fruit cups that contain post-consumer recycled content.
The effort is part of Del Monte’s goal to continue improving on sustainable packaging and make all of its plastic packaging 100% recyclable by 2030. The company is also seeking to include 25% recycled content in its plastic packaging by 2025 once recycled polypropylene supply is available with FDA approval.
Del Monte has been working to reduce its packaging footprint by investing in new and redesigning existing materials. The company says that 4% of its packaging by weight is made up of plastic and the rest is made up of fully recyclable steel, glass or paper materials.
The company also began testing plant-based plastic alternatives for its packaging, according to the company’s 2021 sustainability report. Del Monte says it has eliminated 11.4 million pounds of plastic and 34.5 million pounds of metal in its packaging since 2009.
The sustainable packaging industry is expected to grow at more than 10% a year through 2030 and reach $631 billion, according to Market Research Future. That growth is influenced by many companies making sustainable packaging and making new materials and technologies for such packaging a priority.
In 2021 a group of companies including PepsiCo, L’Oréal and Nestlé Waters introduced food-grade PET plastic bottles made entirely from enzymatically recycled plastic. Burger King has piloted a program to use materials like plant-based plastics and recycled fiber for everything from cutlery to napkins.
In terms of shipping, there are options such as reusable plastic containers, where companies like seafood supplier NAFCO is estimated to cut its packaging costs by as much as 50%.
Most of Del Monte’s packaging historically has been made up of steel cans, which it says has the highest recycling rate of any material. The company also ships its products in corrugate, which is made up of about a third of recycled materials.
Del Monte is also a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, which includes more than 175 companies, as it attempts to improve recycling infrastructure and new packaging options.