Our Packaging: Pouches, Pots and Plastics
20th Oct, 2022
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at TYME. We have created a product that is not only good for your health, but good for the planet too. That is why we use 100% responsible sourced plant-based ingredients and 100% recyclable packaging.
Our goal as a company is to provide workday meal solutions that are convenient for our customers, which means all of our products need to meet the following requirements;
- Need to have a good shelf life and remain fresh throughout the week
- Need to be sendable via post meaning compact packaging
- Need to be durable and convenient on the move - i.e. no spills or leaks during delivery or in your backpack/ handbag.
Trying to meet all of the above criteria has provided us with quite the challenge. In our efforts to be as transparent as possible, we wanted to share this process with you.
In the aim to find the most suitable packaging option, the product team at TYME have undertaken extensive trials and explored various multi-material options. With sustainability being the main focus, we narrowed our options down to the four most sustainable: Paper, Glass, Tin/Aluminium and Plastic.
Analysis of potential materials in relation to TYME's product requirements:
- Paper | Doesn't hold perishable food well and uses a plastic seal meaning it isn't 100% recyclable
- Glass | Cannot be sent safely via post and has a high carbon footprint due to the raw materials.
- Aluminium | Hard to source, expensive and a high carbon footprint due to its manufacturing process
- Plastic | Single polymer plastic is a lightweight material to ship and can be easily recycled
*Data and findings available upon request via email or our newsletter THE FEED
Our extensive work with Foodsteps has helped us obtain accurate data on all of our potential packaging options. From the data above, we found that although recycled aluminium appears to have the lowest emission, recycled aluminium is one of the hardest materials to source globally. Whereas virgin aluminium, which we do access to, is actually the highest CO2 emitting material of all the current options available.
A large contributing factor to the data shared above is that the calculations do not include any post-production transportation (which can change the topline emissions figure depending on the start/end destinations of the material).
From trials, we found that we can fit 2000 pouches into a single box whereas due to weight and size, you could only get roughly 60 glass or aluminium jars into the same box. Add the emissions from the freight transportation on top of this and you can see the overall impact becomes much higher for glass and aluminium.
Despite not currently having any accurate data on the impact of paper, we do use paper where possible and use paper bowls for all of our catering orders where sealing, leakage and shelf life is not such a priority.
Whilst we know plastic isn’t the best solution, from the significant research we have undertaken with help from FoodsSteps, plastic is currently the most viable and lowest emitting option for our products. For our packaging we use a single polymer, mono-material construction which simplifies the supply chain and means it can be recycled in any domestic recycling system unlike many multi-material packaging such as paper cups which may appear 100% paper but actually use a plastic lining.
Furthermore, our plastic pouches are vacuum sealable, meaning we only need to deliver once per week unlike many of our competitors who are required to deliver to their customers on a daily basis.
One area we have looked into is circular economy and reusable packing. In an initial trial we offered our customers free collection of reusable packaging however, we only saw a very small uptake of 12% which wouldn't have longevity from a unit economics perspective.
The Bigger Sustainability Picture
At TYME we are committed to constantly reviewing how we can improve our packaging and find the most sustainable solution.
We pride ourselves on being totally transparent with all our products. That is why, until we find an ideal solution we continue to work with FoodSteps and include a QR on all product labels so you are able to track the impact of all of our products. Our full report can be found below.
Food packaging is a hugely complex and divisive subject. We know the current solution isn’t perfect or the easiest to understand but hopefully the above has given you some insight and shows that we have worked hard as a company to find the best viable solution in 2022.
Our commitment is to find a more sustainable solution as the technology in space improves and who knows, by 2030 you may even be able to eat our packaging too!