NZ: Zespri to launch compostable kiwifruit label

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NZ: Zespri to launch compostable kiwifruit label

New Zealand kiwifruit marketer Zespri has announced it will be introducing the world's first fully compostable fruit label on its organic deal next season.

The company has worked closely with U.S.-based manufacturer Sinclair Systems for around four years to overcome the technical challenges involved, including a trial of five million compostable labels on Zespri organic kiwifruit sold this season.

"Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area," said the company's global organic marketing manager Glen Arrowsmith.

"Making a premium Zespri brand label stick to hairy kiwifruit skin, hold together under the high humidity and cold temperatures in storage, and then break down reasonably quickly when thrown out with the fruit skin – it was a big challenge. But we’ve done it.

"The large-scale label trial we ran this year showed the compostable labels could be applied at speed in the packhouse and performed well through the supply chain to the retailers around the world which stock our fruit."

Arrowsmith said the labels were environmentally responsible, and customers could stick them on a drink bottle or any other PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and be put out with the recycling.

"We’re sure other fruit marketers will also be keen to use this new environmentally-friendly technology in the future," he said.

Sinclair Systems' product was tested for degradability under American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards, with less than 10% of the original dry matter remaining after 22 weeks.

"We are extremely happy with the capability this compostable label brings to Zespri and the alternatives it represents to their customers," said Sinclair's CEO Bill Hallier.

"Sinclair continues to focus on new ways to provide value for the industry.  Zespri's collaboration in this project was key in bringing this initiative to fruition."

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