Del Monte products carry with them a pledge of freshness and quality—that the products we bring to the table will consistently deliver delicious, flavorful, and healthful nutrition. Part of the reason we can guarantee such high quality is our attention to product packaging.
Packaging serves many purposes: it enables us to efficiently transport fruits and vegetables from farm to table, it provides opportunities to convey nutritional and other product information, it protects food from spoiling and thus reduces direct waste, and most importantly, it ensures that food is protected from contamination while retaining its nutritive and taste qualities. We devote significant effort to good packaging design to ensure that not only these criteria are met, but that we also use the least amount of materials and resources to package our products.
Our focus on packaging efficiency has significant repercussions all along our production chain. Even slight adjustments to individual containers can result in big savings of materials, energy, and fuel when considered over millions of units. Reductions in secondary packaging can also significantly minimize waste during shipping. We are consequently pursuing a number of packaging initiatives that focus on the following objectives:
- Remove or reduce packaging and use more effective materials
- Enhance recycled content, recycle-ability, and reusability of packaging materials
- Improve transportation efficiency through packaging changes
Much like our commitment to informing you on what’s in your food, we are also committed to informing you as to what’s in your packaging and how you can take action.
Removing and Reducing Packaging
Our quest to eliminate unnecessary packaging has led to significant reductions in packaging materials across our portfolio of products. We have eliminated paperboard and corrugated cardboard inserts, reduced the thickness of shrink-wrap plastic films, and slimmed down the thickness our plastic cup containers. We plan to further trim the thickness of metal fruit and tomato can ends. And, we’ll continue to explore ways to minimize the use and thickness of plastic films, sealants, and cups. We continue to identify and strategize ways to continue to reduce packaging materials into the future. For example, due to packaging innovation efforts we were able to save almost 6 million pounds of plastic since 2010 in our 4 ounce plastic fruit cups.
Focusing on Reuse and Recycling
We measure and care for our packaging footprint, seeking to use the maximum amount of low-impact, recyclable materials. Over two-thirds of our packaging use steel cans and ends, a sustainable choice as steel is infinitely recyclable and largely recycled across the U.S. The steel for our cans is sourced from the United States, Canada, Holland, and Germany and each can uses approximately 35% recycled steel.
Less than 10% of our packaging is made of plastic, and we continually review more sustainable choices and encourage more recycling.
We also have paperboard and corrugate derived from wood pulp that is used in our secondary packaging such as cartons, and in our primary packaging such as the sleeves that encase our plastic fruit cups. The current recovery rate for wood pulp-related packaging is slightly above 64% in the United States, and on average this packaging is comprised of 33% recycled content. Our supplier utilizes major certifying bodies such as Sustainable Forestry Initiative and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to monitor their supply chain and follow sustainable forestry practices.
The majority of our plastic fruit cups are number 5 (#5) plastics. Plastics numbers 1 through 7 each identify a specific type of plastic based on the type of resin used to make that plastic. In this case, #5 plastic is polypropylene and can be recycled if your local waste management authority accepts that type of plastic. Please contact your local waste management authority for more information about what kind of plastics they accept for recycling.
We are looking into innovative solutions to incorporate more biodegradable or compostable bioplastic packaging in our portfolio. At this time, we have not found suitable plastic packaging alternatives that preserve the integrity, taste, quality and safety of the food in our products.
Improving Transportation Efficiency
Secondary packaging protects our products during shipping between our plants, distribution centers, and the stores where our products are sold. We strive to minimize secondary packaging materials and increase packing efficiency in order to reduce total freight miles and maximize the amount of product that can fit into each truck or shipping container. Read more these initiatives in the Distribution section of our website.