Futamura’s NatureFlex is navigating the path to circular economy

NatureFlex films can be used independently or in conjunction with materials like paper and cartons, allowing for a more sustainable packaging solution

As the sustainability agenda continues to drive positive change across many industries, including the fresh produce sector, the search for environmentally responsible packaging alternatives has taken centre stage for many brands and producers. Futamura, one of the manufacturers of cellulosic films, has supplied renewable and compostable packaging solutions to the fresh produce industry since 2003. Futamura’s NatureFlex films are made from renewable wood pulp sourced from responsibly managed plantations. They are certified for home composting by TÜV Austria and meet all standards for industrial composting, including EN13432.  

Initially favoured by organic producers, NatureFlex films appealed to the environmentally responsible consumer who could use the wrapper to gather peelings and waste and put it all together in the home compost bin, breaking down to compost within just a few weeks. Typical early applications include tomato flow wraps, supplied without conversion (unprinted and unperforated) or via a converter (perforated and printed). These applications and benefits remain relevant today, and NatureFlex continues to play a pivotal role in driving the shift towards a more sustainable packaging future, away from conventional plastics.

Amidst rising consumer expectations and evolving regulations such as the Loi AGEC (Loi Anti Gaspillage et Economie Circulaire) – French legislation that sets the stage for a significant shift in packaging practices, advocating for circular economy principles and reduced environmental impact – the fresh produce industry finds itself needing to adapt. The demand for viable alternatives to conventional plastic packaging is greater than ever, with producers seeking packaging that upholds technical performance while offering improved sustainability credentials. NatureFlex films not only address the broader functional performance and sustainability concerns but also include a range of cellulosic packaging films that respond to the requirements of the Loi AGEC, ideally suited for packaging fruits and vegetables weighing under 1.5 kg.

These versatile cellulosic films can be used independently or in conjunction with materials like paper and cartons, allowing for a broad range of sustainable packaging solutions. NatureFlex films are used for packaging an array of fresh products, ranging from peppers and radishes to a diverse selection of whole fruits and vegetables, making them an adaptable and sustainable choice for a cross-section of packaging needs. Futamura also offers a range of renewable and compostable fruit label facestock for the production of renewable and compostable fruit labels.

In an industry where efficiency and reliability are critical, producers can trust NatureFlex to integrate seamlessly into their operations; they run on the same machines as conventional plastics, avoid significant disruptions to current processes, and no additional investment is needed. While some small adjustments to the line may be required, Futamura’s technical team are available to share their expertise and provide assistance. The company has recently celebrated the opening of a new state-of-the-art production line, increasing manufacturing capacity and further improving customer lead times.