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“We value attributes that wood has always had”

About wood packaging, circular economy, product quality, traceability, recycling, environment and business activity in the Empty Spain we talked to Alberto Palmí, director of Fedemco after his time at Fruit Logística 2020.

By Marga López, Agrifood Journalists (@ Margalopez77)

From the point of view of packaging, I dare not say that this year 2020 will be that of wood, but I am convinced that the sector’s commitment to this type of packaging will grow. There is a greater awareness towards the use of natural, recyclable and sustainable materials, all of them attributes of wood, which also allows a second use by the consumer.

We have said on several occasions that the wood lives a good moment, what balance do you do since Fedemco of the year 2019?

As a Federation, we still do not have updated data on the growth of the use of wood packaging in the fruit and vegetable sector, but there are studies by independent entities that point out that we have moved from a 15% market share in 2018 to almost 19% in 2019. They are really positive figures and above all they set a clear trend. For example, in sectors such as strawberries, we represent almost 80% of the market, and in citrus fruits we are close to 50%. That is, in purely exporting products, it is where wood gains presence, because Europe demands it.

And in Spain, doesn’t the same thing happen?

Gradually here the trend is changing, although it is being slower. The large distribution is gradually becoming interested in wooden packaging, especially because the consumer is increasingly aware of its advantages. Last year we launched the catalog of Packaging Sales Unit, to cover that need of the large distribution, which demands a format where the product is not touched and the consumer can take it home.

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 Has the strategy changed when presenting your packaging?

The strategy has changed, we must bear in mind that we are a new team, with a new website, a greater presence in the media and the Internet, in addition, now we put more value on attributes of our packaging that has always been there but that were in the background : recycled, biodegradable, second uses, circular economy, sustainability … These features are now our cover letter. When someone is interested in wooden packaging, first we want them to think about them, and then in the different formats that the sector makes available to them.

We cannot forget that all European guidelines regarding packaging are aimed at sustainability, and today there is no more sustainable packaging than wood, it also absorbs CO2, retains it throughout its life cycle, wood forests generate Wealth is a crop that allows to fix population in rural areas …

The administration is now when it is realizing what we represent, what the wood industry can do and all the subsector that revolves around it, what we can represent in the face of climate change and the Empty Spain….

We talk about wood but there are also other materials derived from it …

Indeed, there are not only sawn and plywood containers, there is also the MDF, a technical wood that has existed for many years and is now also becoming more prominent. As advantages it offers excellent impressions, with very uniform bases and a more industrial finish … These two materials are designed to live in the linear, and to offer the customer and distribution differentiating formats.

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