Fresh Post is an exciting takeaway salad and green cocktails bar, established in Lithuania in 2017. Since the beginning of operations, Fresh Post received a lot of positive feedback from thousands of customers and instantly earned their trust as a healthy, balanced and nourishing meal provider to an always-rushing city resident. Recently, Fresh Post salad bars have introduced new packaging: recycled, recyclable, and compostable. In the process, it became clear that for change to be effective, it must be radically transparent and interact with customers. We know where the recycled material comes from, who sorts our waste, and even what our packaging will become after being recycled. We made sure that this information would be available to everyone by scanning the QR code on the box itself, browsing the interactive screen at the bar while waiting for your order or just by going online freshpost.lt/packaging/en.
We updated packaging to meet real-world waste management and recycling infrastructure, developed radical transparency cradle-to-cradle infrastructure (where anyone can check the source of materials and with the help of waste managers we even tracked where and to which products our materials are recycled to if discarded in Fresh Post restaurants) being one of the firsts fast food franchises to do it in the world. We didn’t forget about the receiver – customer, thus we integrated everything into interactive and modern education. All of these changes have led to significant cost optimization and tax savings.
Sustainability which really works is no longer a trend. It’s a necessity.
We’ve read all the comments left on our social media accounts over the past 4 years and have spent a lot of time reading other businesses’ clients’ reviews. In this way, we found out the most common inconveniences, uncertainties, and desires regarding food packaging. It also became clear that customers are fast learners and they are more and more invested in sustainability.
Fresh Post was convinced that their old packaging was recyclable because it was made from cardboard. We worked side by side with waste management companies and learned that it’s almost impossible to recycle food packaging with plastic film. Even with a recycling certificate, uncontaminated food containers could only be recycled if they were collected in extremely large quantities (up to 100 tons!) and we still would be left with the contaminated part which is only suitable for incineration or landfill.
Being faster than big players while delighting our customers and saving money.
The largest fast-food restaurant chains and food brands are busy making sustainability commitments for 2025 or later years. When you are a franchise of thousands of restaurants, you must be particularly careful with every innovation because the changes will have to be applied identically to all the restaurants. As a relatively small company, we can apply the same changes immediately and everything at once. This provides an exceptional opportunity to bring bold decisions to customers even faster than market leaders. This could help expand the Fresh Post franchise business in the coming years.
We were looking for a material that would bring sustainability and functionality. We tested many different materials from various manufacturers, but finally, with Smurfit Kappa guidance we discovered fitting recycled material. This is a unique case, as until now recycled materials rarely could have been used for food containers. We are lucky with our product because it gets greasy just after you apply sauce to the salad. While the order is being delivered, the packaging must only withstand some of the wetter and fatter ingredients. New mono-material is partially moisture and water-resistant thanks to the 9 layers that are couched together in the paper making process and a foil-free water-based barrier on top. All the fiber layers used in the process are from recycled materials and additives are water-based organic materials. The new material has internal layers of activated carbon which adsorbs contaminants. That gives us maximum hygiene.
All parts of the new packaging can be properly treated. The packaging solution does not use any adhesives and uses an extremely small amount of ink. Not only can the clean part be recycled but we will soon be able to compost the part of the packaging that came into contact with food. By the end of 2023 collection points for compostable waste should be installed in all major European cities.
There are some great food packaging in the world. Unfortunately, consumers have no idea how to sort the different parts of the packaging. Assessing the lack of education in the market, we realized that innovation is not enough. It is also important to explain how to adopt innovations, show the right way to sort and introduce the whole system. The waste recycling company Ecoservice has a broad knowledge, as it has a particular interest in extracting further value from collected waste. They shared tips on how to properly and conveniently handle every single piece of waste generated in Fresh post salad bars and we even tracked where the waste goes and what products our materials are recycled into when discarded in Fresh Post restaurants. This information provided an opportunity to evaluate and anticipate changes in other Fresh Post food containers, flatware, and napkins.
By scanning the QR code on the box or browsing the interactive screen at the Fresh Post bar visitors will be able to get all relevant and interesting information: from the technical parameters of the material, to responsible parties with documents backing the claims, and get acquainted with sorting steps. All the information is presented in a way that provides knowledge on how to handle other similar types of packaging and waste. All of it is also available on the Fresh Post website: freshpost.lt/packaging/en. Only by educating each other, we will be able to adapt quickly and effectively. For example, by using our transparent system and following the path of packaging, customers and partners can submit suggestions or criticisms directly to us. We will be able to quickly evaluate and consider all observations. We know that making all data publicly available will make it very easy for other brands and competitors to copy. We are not afraid. We encourage that! We believe that once the public will realize the benefits, innovation will accelerate and it will benefit both businesses and customers.