Improving our packaging is always going to be an ongoing journey of improvement and education at Real Handful as we try to balance competing factors like environmental impact, food safety, brand messaging and our desire to ensure that Real Handful’s healthier snacks are as affordable as possible. Currently, our on-the-go packs use a bonded paper & plastic material and in 2020 we are working to transition across to a widely recyclable new packaging material. At the same time we’re also going to invest in some game changing new solutions that take on a path to massively removing & reducing our primary packaging. With all this in mind we thought we’d share a brief history of how we have arrived where we are today and what comes next;
2016 – Our launch year. We used a normal composite film packaging material. As a fruit & nut snacking company we absolutely do need a strong barrier to protect the integrity of our snacks (food safety and shelf life considerations) and traditionally this has been done with plastic films. This is where we started.
2017 – We wanted to start looking at alternatives to single use plastic. We ran factory trials using a compostable film we had sourced, but unfortunately, these performed very poorly in shelf life trials and were not a viable option for when our product would be making it out into the real world. Sadly, it would have just led to more waste further down the supply chain. Todays compostable films are most likely not the correct long-term solution for Real Handful.
2018 – This was a big year for us as we launched our rebrand in May 2018 and we took the opportunity to move to a paper/film laminate combination that has been in the market since. The film is metalised on the inside and this allowed us to reduce the plastic content by around 50%. We made this decision with the right intentions but because it is a combination of two materials, there was no path to recyclability with this packaging solution.
The Combination Material Packs
2019 & 2020 – We have just began rolling out new packaging moving back to a film solution. Our intent is to look to move in 2020 wholly to a new OPE+PE+PE film structure that will fall under the ‘Widely Recyclable’ standards. From conversations with suppliers and guidance from retail partners we believe that this is the correct path for Real Handful. The signs are that the infrastructure to support the recyclability of film packaging is the route that will have the biggest impact over the shortest timeframe. With this in mind our packs are being digitally printed as an interim measure but we are looking to move to this new solution by Spring/Summer of this year, with the goal of most of our range to be fully transitioned by October 2020.
To Infinity & Beyond – In bigger sites we are looking to trial equipment that allows Real Handful to be dispensed without any outer packaging. We are really excited about the potential of a bulk packaging route & can’t wait to bring this to life. This is the start of the journey of what a bulk pack could look like and there is scope to explore options for people to consume Real Handful in their homes by buying in bulk.
What Real Handful Bulk Mixes Could Look Like
We hope this helps give you confidence that we’re taking steps in the right direction when it comes to packaging. We are constantly in the process of educating ourselves on the best route possible, so we would love to hear any feedback you may have.