From time to time we get inquiries about our packaging and why we chose the packaging we use. Some of our decisions were purposeful and based on our principles. Others were the best option available from a restricted set of choices. Here’s the story of our packaging.
When we initially developed the first few products before launching Beetnik’s line of Organic entrées, we worked with a co-packer who agreed to make our products. A co-packer is a 3rd party whose business it is to make food for various brands. Most small food companies don’t have the resources and knowledge to make their own products in larger quantities, so they commonly use co-packers. Despite undertaking a nationwide search, we were only able to find one co-packer who was willing to become a certified Organic operation and that was also a gluten-free facility. It was like looking for a unicorn. A green unicorn.
We soon learned that we would be constrained in a variety of ways by the co-packers sourcing and equipment capabilities. That’s the nature of co-packing. It’s a bit of a matrix to figure out a combination of cooking, portioning, packaging and quality that suits the type of products someone wants to make. And again, we only had one option.
We wanted a tray for our single serve entrees that would be suitable for both microwaves and conventional ovens. We wanted it to be recyclable and have as many other environmentally positive attributes as possible. From a small number of options, we ultimately selected a CPET tray.
CPET is an abbreviation for Crystalline Polyethylene Terephthalate. It’s a type of packaging that was developed many years ago for the food industry to ensure food safety. It is a sustainable packaging solution made from recycled plastic bottles and other sources. These recovered materials undergo a cleaning process to ensure that the material is subsequently approved for food use.
Using CPET has the effect of reducing carbon emissions by 50% compared to other types of plastic trays, and all the trays have a top layer that serves as a functional barrier providing high food safety.
CPET has some disadvantages that we don’t like. It takes a long time to break down and therefore isn’t as environmentally friendly as we want. It can also bend occasionally when heating, and while that doesn’t compromise food safety, it can be unsettling. Nobody wants a tray to bend when it’s heated.
CPET has some other advantages too. The material is BPA-free. It’s suitable for use in microwaves and conventional ovens. It’s a stable, durable, sustainable material that also can withstand being frozen, and most importantly offers high food safety.
We seal each tray with a high barrier film. The purpose of that film is to improve freshness and quality of the food, as well as to provide a safety assurance that the product has not been adulterated. It also stops food from splashing your microwave.
When we picked the tray that we use for Beetnik meals, we were offered a box to put the tray in. We didn’t like the idea of a box because we felt like the film was sufficient to ensure a tamper-proof product and a box was going to be 30-50% more unnecessary packaging. We believed that was wasteful and inconsistent with our goal of minimizing our environmental footprint. It wasn’t the best marketing decision because our packaging is much smaller and that’s how you find our products in a grocery store.
Some final thoughts on our packaging
We picked a tray that is much smaller than the footprint most companies in the frozen food world use for approximately the same quantity of food. We did that because we don’t believe in trying to fool you into believing your buying more than you are getting. That decision allowed us to choose a smaller sleeve which has benefits similar to a smaller tray.
We’re not a conventional food marketing company trying to sell you a big half-filled box. We’re a small family company committed to bringing safe, delicious, clean, and convenient frozen organic meals to you. Organic ingredients are more expensive, especially animal proteins and spices. We use a small tray and a sleeve that minimizes the footprint of materials, the impact on the environment and the cost so we can deliver the best value to you possible. We trust that you get it.
Thank you for being a Beetnik,