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Jumbo embraces natural branding

Amsterdam, June 7, 2018 – This summer, Jumbo will be the first national supermarket chain to actively reduce its use of plastic packaging by using natural branding. This is a technique in which laser light is used to brand vegetables and fruit, by removing a little bit of pigmentation from the outer layer of the product’s skin. Jumbo will start with the organic vegetables ginger, butternut squash, and zucchini, and is currently researching which other product might qualify for the laser technique. The initiative comes at a time where more and more attention is given to the reduction of single-use packaging plastics.

The Dutch organic wholesale store Eosta in Waddinxveen has been branding vegetables and fruit for several years. Eosta’s sustainability manager Michaël Wilde: “We’re very happy that a large party like Jumbo is going to use this technique. We know from experience not only how effective natural branding is, but also how positive the responses from consumers are.”

Jumbo is striving towards increased sustainability of its supply of Dutch potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. When foodstuffs of plant origin meet certain requirements – such as cultivation with far fewer plant production products – the products are eligible for the international PlanetProof label, which will replace the Dutch Miliekeur label starting January 1, 2019. Doing away with plastic packaging, however, isn’t a separate sustainability criteria in the certification scheme. The new PlanetProof label does formulate requirements about plastic packaging itself. Use of PVC, for example, is prohibited, and starting January 1st, use of black plastic is no longer allowed.

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “We wholeheartedly congratulate Jumbo with this important step in the direction of package-free products. We hope the initiative will not only inspire a host of imitators, but that through the sustainability labels, the use of single-use plastic packaging will be further discouraged. The fact that this isn’t happening yet, is a missed opportunity.”

Also read: Food waste and plastic waste go hand in hand