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06th of December 2021Product news

Sugarcane Oyster Trays for a Greener Future

Blue Harvest and BioPak have created the world’s first custom-moulded oyster tray made from sugarcane pulp, a real game changer for the aquaculture sector.


Working with the great team at Blue Harvest, we have created the world’s first custom-moulded oyster tray made from sugarcane. Sugarcane is a rapidly-renewable material that would have been burnt otherwise, can help the fresh produce industry avoid plastics and reduce their environmental footprint. These trays are certified home and industrially compostable – a real game changer for the aquaculture sector.
 
Blue Harvest is an Australian specialist seafood sales and marketing agency, working with the best domestic and international seafood producers to consolidate supply, sell and market premium quality seafood products to major Australian seafood retailers and wholesalers.
 
Up until now, the only solution for oysters has been single-use plastic trays but given the challenges plastics are causing for our oceans, Blue Harvest reached out to BioPak for a solution. 
 
In this article we have interviewed Scott Walter from Blue Harvest who runs through how the collaboration worked from start to delivery.
 
The number of single use plastic trays, wrapped in plastic, 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 avoid 1.5 tonnes of plastic being used per annum.
 

What sustainability initiatives do you have in your business?

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.

How has this collaboration with BioPak impacted 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 has sustainable packaging been able to help with?

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.

How did the customers perceive the new packaging?

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.
 
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.

dark blue expanded polystyrene oyster trays to the ‘after’ image of oysters in a BioPak sugarcane pulp tray, held by Scott Walter from Blue Harvest

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.

How was your experience working with BioPak?

We have had a great experience working with BioPak. The team has been welcoming, gone over and above in contributing knowledge and design skills to the development of the trays, and patient as we have worked this from concept to commercial reality. We are really proud to have partnered with BioPak, and excited to tackle more ways to present our seafood products together in the future.

Two six oysters trays image top down made from BioPak sugarcane pulp.

AWARD-WINNING PACKAGING

We are thrilled to announce the Blue Harvest Oyster Tray has won the Worldstar Packaging Awards in the Materials & Components category.

WHAT ARE THE WOLRDSTAR PACKAGING AWARDS?

Since 1970, the World Packaging Organisation has been organizing WorldStar awards and providing awards to numerous packs from all around the world. The WorldStar Competition is one of the major events of the World Packaging Organisation (WPO) and is the pre-eminent global award in packaging. WordStar illustrates the continual advancement of the state of packaging design and technology and creates a living standard of international packaging excellence from which others may learn. Each year WPO is recognizing the best of the best in packaging innovations from across the globe. The objective of WPO in organising WorldStar is to increase awareness on the importance of packaging in having a better life and to recognize the innovation and efforts of brand owners, designers, students, and branding agencies for creating packaging solutions of the future and in responding to new challenges and global trends such as sustainability, hygiene, and other trends.

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