BIOVELA Group's packaging innovation launched in Lithuania will help reduce 37 tonnes of plastic per year

BIOVELA Group, the largest and most modern group of meat processing companies in the Baltic States, has introduced an innovation to the Lithuanian market in the fresh meat category - a new type of packaging with 70% less plastic. The group estimates that the innovative packaging will help reduce 37 tonnes of plastic per year.

Market and sustainability drive change

Four TV towers in Vilnius, or around 100 000 tonnes - that's how much plastic waste Lithuanians alone throw away every year. Although we are among the most diligent sorters of this waste in Europe, not all of it reaches sorting centres. The lion's share - as much as 60% - is made up of plastic packaging.

Today's sorting trends dictate the need for sustainable solutions, so the idea of refurbished packaging came naturally to the BIOVELA Group team. The search for solutions is driven not only by the Group's own commitment to sustainability and a lower environmental impact, but also by the desire to meet the expectations of consumers and business partners for more environmentally friendly solutions.

"We have long felt the need for new, innovative packaging because we are constantly thinking and working to reduce our environmental impact. We also feel the expectation of sustainable solutions from both consumers and our business partners who distribute our products," says Povilas Vinžanovas, Marketing Director of BIOVELA Group, about the incentives for a more sustainable product packaging solution.

"As market leaders and innovators, we always strive to be the first to offer new solutions that preserve product quality and shelf-life, ensure food safety, and meet consumers' expectations of sustainability without increasing the price of the final product. Innovation is often dictated by packaging exhibitions or training of innovative suppliers, and we always strive to bring the latest innovations to our customers as soon as possible. We are delighted that this packaging innovation in the fresh meat category is the first in our country and we have no doubt that it will be well received by both consumers and our business partners," commented Mr Vinžanovas.

The quality of the product will not change

The Group, which has a strong focus on product quality, has focused on offering the end consumer the highest nutritional and quality attributes of the BIOVELA Group's best-selling product by introducing the innovative flow-pack packaging with 70% less plastic. As in previous packaging, the fresh minced meat is packaged using a special gas mixture that helps to keep the product unchanged for longer.

"During the production process, the packaging is filled with a protective gas mixture that meets food safety requirements. This ensures that the minced meat does not lose these properties throughout its shelf life. And the quality of the meat and its compliance with food safety requirements is guaranteed by continuous testing, both chemical and microbiological. We have our own in-house testing laboratory and work with other top international laboratories," says Vaida Žitlinskaitė, Head of Technology Development at BIOVELA Group, about the quality assurance process.

The company's representative points out that the advantage of packaged products compared to unpackaged products is that they have a longer shelf-life, as the packaging itself and the protective gases it contains create an environment in which bacteria are not able to multiply and their activity is inhibited.

Added value on sorting

In addition to the packaging advantage of helping to preserve the best quality of fresh meat, the new flow-pack will be lighter and take up less space in the bin, as there is no longer a plastic container.

In order to bring about changes in sustainability, V. Žitlinskaitė stresses the importance of each consumer making further conscious choices. The innovation presented to the market will also add value to sorting - all you have to do is to stick a sticker on the used flow-pack and dispose of the packaging in a plastic container in your backyard. In addition, the company plans to recycle stickers in the future, so that all flow-pack packaging will be fully recyclable.

"The Group's focus is always on consumers, and their expectations for convenience and product quality are one of our top priorities. However, by prioritising products that reflect sustainability ideas, consumers are in the best position to contribute to their development. With the introduction of the new, more sustainable packaging solution, we hope that people will consider sustainability initiatives that meet their expectations for convenience and quality when choosing products and, in turn, take proactive steps to help reduce their environmental impact," shares Mr Vinzanov.

Sustainability-focused solutions are not the first

The new plastic-reduced and recyclable packaging for fresh meat products is just another step in the BIOVELA Group's sustainability efforts. The Group is continuously focusing on energy and plastic reduction solutions in order to reduce its environmental impact. "Flow-pack packaging is not the company's first initiative aimed specifically at reducing plastic - since 2019, the BIOVELA Group has reduced its plastic consumption by 18%.

"Over the last four years, we have managed to reduce the consumption of energy resources per kilogram of production by about 31%.The most significant change was achieved by installing a 3.45MW solar power plant on the roofs of the company's buildings - the largest self-consumption plant in Lithuania, which generates more than 20% of the electricity needed for the group's production," says Povilas Vinžanovas, the Marketing Director of BIOVELA Group.

The Group has introduced water-saving solutions that have reduced water consumption by more than 15%.Another innovation has helped BIOVELA Group to halve its gas consumption, as 53% of the total heat required is produced using waste heat generated during production processes.

In order to further reduce the amount of resources consumed in the Group's processes, new solutions are constantly being sought and active investments are being made in energy saving measures. In the future, a biogas power plant is planned to be installed, which would allow the biogas produced from the combustion of biodegradable waste in a biogas reactor to be used for the heat needs of production processes.

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