PPS East was crowned champion at this year’s Dragon’s Den style Ecopack Challenge, which took place at Packaging Innovations 2016. The company beat off strong competition from Waddington Europe, Parkside and Scandolara Spa, winning the chance to develop its idea, the Re-Fresh Box, with Marks and Spencer.
Before the show, packaging manufacturers and suppliers were invited to submit entries, with the EcoPack Challenge criteria stating that all products had to be new or recently launched sustainable or environmentally friendly packaging. Of those entered a shortlist of four was drawn up and invited to present live on the show floor, to a panel of industry judges.
The panel included Laura Fernandez, Packaging Technologist at Marks & Spencer, Jonathan Couper, Packaging Development Manager for UK Poultry at 2 Sisters Food Group and Mark Shayler, Environmental Design Consultant.
PPS East took to the stage to pitch its pioneering product, the Re-Fresh Box. It is a 3kg and 6kg volume lidded plastic tray that can be used throughout the supply chain, all the way through to supermarket food counters, including fresh food, fish, meat and poultry, and also pharmaceutical products. Re-Fresh has been designed with the major food retailers and the food service industry in mind, due its leak-proof properties. Each box can last for at least 10 years and can be reused, reducing the costs and carbon emissions involved with single-use packaging.
Joanne Moss, Managing Director at PPS East commented on the triumph: “We are absolutely delighted that our efforts in producing Re-Fresh have been recognised with this fantastic award win. Single-use packaging is having a vastly damaging effect on the environment and creating huge problems in the supply chain, which is why we’ve worked hard and listened to our customers to try and find an immediate and sustainable alternative through Re-Fresh.
“We are so pleased that the judges recognised that Re-Fresh is a great step forward for addressing issues in packaging and we look forward to working with the team at M&S and getting the message out further about the great benefits Re-Fresh can bring to the industry.”
Head of the Judges, Laura Fernandez of Marks and Spencer commented on the PPS East victory: “It was a pleasure to judge the event. PPS East is a worthy winner, with Re-Fresh, and we are looking forward to working with them, and assessing the full benefits the system can bring.”
The EcoPack Challenge was not just a success for the eventual winner, but also for runner up, Waddington Europe, which will be testing its new material, Hydrozorb, with another of the judges - 2 Sisters Food Group. The pioneering material reduces surface tension, captures condensation and offers improved shelf-life over standard r-PET.
Jonathan Couper from 2 Sisters Food Group, commented on the Challenge and the eventual runner up: “I thought the whole thing worked really well and would be happy to do it again, on the Hydrozorb we are going to trial the material on some product and will ensure that M&S are the loop.”
Judge, Mark Shayler said of the EcoPack Challenge: “Competitions and awards like this are really important. They push companies to think more broadly about the benefits of what they are doing.”
Gerry Sherwood, Event Director for Easyfairs’ UK Packaging Events, concluded: “From my point of view, the EcoPack Challenge fulfils all of our objectives as organisers of the principal exhibition for the packaging industry. We are leading the market in important areas affecting the sector; we are the showcase event for the latest innovation and product design in packaging; we are recognising and rewarding innovation; we’re enabling brands and retailers to engage with suppliers; plus it is all under one roof. We are delighted for PPS East, grateful to the judges for their important input and very much looking forward to even more entries next year.”
The next Easyfairs packaging event will be Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging London, which takes place at London Olympia on 14 & 15 September 2016.