Hear how iconic Austrian fruit preserves company Darbo found the right packaging solution to fulfil their premium standard as well as meet their sustainability goals.
We spoke to Klaus Darbo, Head of Marketing at Darbo, and Gerd Paulweber, Sales representative at Mondi’s corrugated packaging plant in Grünburg, Austria, about this fruitful collaboration.
Mr Darbo, tell us about your company’s interest in sustainable packaging for your products.
Klaus Darbo: As a homegrown company, we are focused on quality of our products, the visual appearance of our products but also to ensure we are able to offer sustainable packaging. In parallel, we know that this is very important for our customers as well. In the Austrian and German retail food industry and the end-consumers who have a strong preference for more sustainable packaging wherever possible.
Can you give us an example of a product that you wanted to find more sustainable packaging for?
Klaus Darbo: We were looking for a sustainable packaging solution for our shelf-ready trays that hold multiple glass jars of our spoonable fruit snacks, Tagtraum and Fruchtikus. Previously we used a combination of a corrugated tray bottom covered in a plastic wrap but we wanted to find a recyclable alternative to plastic, and something made from natural materials – which would be truer to our company’s natural products. We also had to give consideration to a product that would work well for our production process.
How does the new solution support Darbo’s sustainability goals?
Klaus Darbo: The solution we chose is a wrap-around box made from100% corrugated cardboard material, which itself comes from sustainably sourced forestry products. By eliminating the previous plastic wrap, the new packaging is fully recyclable and you no longer need to separate the materials when it comes to recycling. Furthermore, we are keeping our environmental impact low by sourcing our packaging from a nearby supplier.
How has this packaging been received by your own customers, the retailers?
Klaus Darbo: The wrap-around box works well for our retailers because it’s practical as well as fully recyclable. It keeps the glass jars safe during transport and is easy to handle at the point of sale. Thanks to the tear-off lid, the products can be presented attractively in their original packaging, and the lower portion functions as a tray.
Why did you come to Mondi Grünburg for a solution?
Klaus Darbo: We know Mondi well from previous projects together over the last few years, and appreciate their emphasis on both sustainability and innovation. We know they are flexible enough to work closely with us to find just the right solution for our specific needs. That’s real customer service. And working with a fellow Austrian company means shorter distances and less environmental impact for transport and shipping.
What was it like to work with the Mondi team?
Klaus Darbo: I think the biggest advantage of working with Mondi is that they don’t see their role as just a packaging supplier. Instead, they add a layer of consulting support to their technical expertise. They listen to us, understand our needs and really work together to come up with the right solution.
Mr Paulweber, what are Mondi Grünburg’s customers looking for in terms of packaging design and function?
Gerd Paulweber: Convenience and sustainability are at the top of the wish list, because these factors concern not only our customers but also the end-consumers of their products. On the convenience side, it has to be sturdy enough for transport, easy to handle and open, and ideally recyclable after use. Sustainability is something we consider in all aspects of packaging development, from the sourcing of the raw materials to the design of packaging that uses less material and is simple to recycle or dispose.
How did Mondi respond to Darbo’s request for more sustainable packaging?
Gerd Paulweber: We’re always happy to work with customers to find the most sustainable packaging solution for them – that’s our EcoSolutions approach. I’ve personally been collaborating with Darbo for five years, and Mondi has been supplying them for even longer. We have huge respect for Darbo’s high standards and reputation in the market. It was important to understand their specific needs and requirements, and come up with a solution that was functional, efficient as well as sustainable.
Were there any particular challenges in this project?
Gerd Paulweber: Darbo had already decided to seek new packaging that did not use plastic wrap and they invested in a new packaging machine to handle 100% paper-based packaging. The challenge was to develop a box that would remain stable enough in the packaging machine and during transport, yet be easy to open at the point of sale. We developed a solution to meet Darbo’s needs in collaboration with the machine supplier. The resulting one-piece corrugated box has a sturdy lid and is perforated around the middle so the lid can be easily removed, turning the box into a shelf-ready tray.
Was Darbo’s sustainability goal reached?
Gerd Paulweber: Yes. Having eliminated the previous plastic wrap, the packaging now consists entirely of natural materials and is 100% recyclable after use. What’s more, the corrugated cardboard is composed of 65% recycled materials and 35% FSC-certified fresh fibre, meaning fibre from certified sustainable forestry practices.
Mondi’s EcoSolutions approach to sustainable innovation helps businesses achieve measurable impacts by replacing less sustainable packaging with more sustainable solutions, reducing overall environmental footprint, and increasing recycling.