Hellofresh Packaging Expert: Food is Being Bought Online

On the second day of the Dresden Packaging Conference, Thomas Regenhardt, Head of Packaging at Hellofresh SE, was among those who reported on the right amount of packaging.

In New Zealand, heads of lettuce are much bigger than in Germany, in Canada carrots are huge: the standardized packaging of fresh food is sometimes not easy to digest for meal delivery and cooking box providers like Hellofresh. On the second day of the Dresden Packaging Conference of the German Packaging Institute (dvi), Thomas Regenhardt, Head of Packaging at Hellofresh, reported on the successful business of sending cooking boxes. The growth trend was continuing, Regenhardt told participants at the virtual conference. „Seven million different cooking combinations are shipped worldwide per week.“

Because not everything could be packed automatically in the case of fresh food, there were still manual processes in production in some cases. To make the delivery process to customers more sustainable, the company is increasingly paying attention to packing boxes as small as possible to save volume. In concrete terms, this means measuring the width and height of fruit and vegetables, for example, so that average sizes are available for the various packaging shapes. Therefore, the aforementioned giant carrot should have a hard time in German cooking boxes. Within a year, Hellofresh had saved 10,000 tons of paper and 119 tons of plastic in its packaging, Regenhardt said. Insulation in secondary packaging could be further reduced.

The next step, he said, would be to analyze weather data and transport routes more closely and incorporate them into the delivery process to save carbon dioxide emissions. Cooling certain products during transport was unavoidable, he said, but could be planned even more precisely than before. He added that the Packaging Think Tank in Berlin, which was specially set up in September 2021, was in the process of optimizing further packaging steps.

Asked by Winfried Batzke, dvi managing director and moderator of the virtual conference, what he would like the packaging industry to do, Regenhardt said, „Food is being bought online. The packaging industry should adapt to this.”