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Black Forest Takes a Forests-First Approach to Sustainable Packaging

bhofack2/Canva Colorful gummies beauty shot
The gummy and fruit snacks packager has a packaging portfolio founded on paper sourced from sustainable forests that it supports directly.

Companies can be tree huggers, too, in embracing the benefits of sustainable paper-based packaging that aligns with its needs, values, and, for Black Forest, its branding.

Appropriately, in celebration of International Day of Forests March 21, the company announced a commitment transitioning to a sustainable brand. In doing so, Black Forest laid claim as the first in the gummy and fruit snack category to make this purpose-led pledge.

Black ForestBF PurposeMark

A part of sweets giant Ferrara, the brand is in the third year of a partnership with the National Forest Foundation, which provides ways for people to take action to help tree-planting efforts in the wake of devastating wildfires. Its short-term goal is to plant 1.5 million trees across US forests that have been impacted by wildfire by the end of 2022.

The brand now sets that bar higher for a long-range goal: planting 10 million trees by 2030.

The company’s pledge is committing to real ingredients that are better for people, moving to fully sustainable packaging, continuing to plant and protect forests, and reducing the impact of its production.

“It's why we were founded in the first place — to capture the transformative power of nature and make snacks that are delicious, with carefully selected real ingredients," said Kate Adams, senior brand marketing director of Black Forest at Ferrara. "We looked to our consumers as we developed a set of goals that will deliver impact in all aspects of our business including real ingredients, real fruit juice, and partnerships that have a real impact on the conservation of forests."

Black Forest/Packaging DigestBlack Forest Kate Adams quote

The company is a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s (EMF) New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, from which the company draws on established practices for sustainable packaging guidelines.

“These baselines help establish priority areas of our packaging portfolio,” Adams informs Packaging Digest. 

With a packaging mix that relies strongly on paper-based materials, it has a jumpstart on those essential components. 

“Our secondary and tertiary packaging is largely recyclable corrugate," says Adams. "With the majority of secondary and tertiary packaging already recyclable, we will focus our commitment on primary packaging to transition to recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging by 2025, so our packaging does not become pollution in the environment.”

That means consumer-facing flexible packaging made from plastic film in the form of bags and stand-up pouches.

Black ForestBlack Forest gummies in pouches

“The packaging currently used is carefully designed to maintain the freshness and quality that people have come to expect from our products,” says Adams.  “We are looking at sustainable packaging options like recyclable film. These are newly developed products that require testing to ensure they hold up to our food quality and safety standards.”

Among a number of challenges is the rapid packaging innovation within the US, according to Adams. “Engaging Ferrara’s entire organization, the leading sustainable packaging organizations, and our supplier network is critical to managing this challenge, meeting the EMF Global Commitment by 2025, and establishing a circular economy for packaging.”

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