Not all food is created equal. This is simply a fact in our industry. Few are those who venture to create a product that is truly revolutionary in quality and substance. Lucky for me, I’ve gotten to know some of those few as a trade news writer, one of whom is No Evil Foods. The North Carolina plant-based meat company invests not only in the quality of its product, but in the quality of its packaging, touting 100-percent compostability and recyclability.
“We started by asking ourselves what we wanted our packaging to accomplish. Our company’s mission is driven in large part by environmental impact, so we wanted the end-of-life disposal of our packaging to be environmentally friendly,” said Mike Woliansky, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. “Most packaging labeled as compostable requires special disposal in industrial composting facilities to adequately break down. Our cartons are appropriate for backyard compost piles, and they’re also recyclable.”
Furthermore, No Evil’s packaging utilizes plant-based ink and water-soluble adhesives, as well as uncoated, unbleached paperboard. Throughout the sourcing process, as Mike explained, the company worked closely with suppliers and printers to validate materials for environmental standards.
The physical impact of these products is not to be understated, but what I first noticed about the packaging was the strategically placed bits of information unveiled as the cartons open up. A unique unfolding design welcomes, interacts with, engages, and educates the consumer at every step. And, personally, this simple yet thoughtful touch was an exciting reminder of why I went plant-based in the first place.
“The compostable/recyclable unbleached kraft box furthers No Evil Foods’ message of sustainability through development of an interactive and informative box-opening experience. We live our brand and are committed to using food as a force for good at every stage of the process. Our packaging empowers consumers with knowledge about the positive impact their food choices can have when they choose No Evil Foods,” Sadrah Schadel, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, told me.
The environmental callouts tucked into every box become a powerful conversation piece and it reaffirms the positive impact that consumer food choices can make. No Evil Foods argues that eco-packaging should be prioritized in all sectors, not just in plant-based food.
"The climate and environmental crisis we face is too pressing to not be a primary consideration for all CPG brands. It’s not only the responsible way to approach business, but it’s also smart business. The real reason we are doing what we’re doing is because it’s the right thing to do for the planet and for people on the planet,” Mike added. “Seventy-five percent of millennials have shifted their buying habits to align with the environment, and most would spend more money on sustainable products.”
It’s at this point in the interview that I realized why No Evil is truly a revolutionary brand. As more and more small companies prioritize sustainable and low-waste packaging, this can create challenges like difficulty with sourcing, prohibitive costs based on purchasing volumes, or simply finding sustainable technology. Despite all that, emerging brands are leading with their choices and, hopefully, pushing large, established corporations to do better. Because, truthfully, as Mike and Sadrah put it, we need them on board if we’re going to see success through broad adoption.
“In the past 18 months, we’ve increased our distribution to expand into over 5,000 stores. To respond to the exciting demand for our plant-based meats, we’ve expanded production capabilities at our facility outside of Asheville, NC,” Sadrah said. “We intend to continue to lead the charge in terms of offering more sustainable packaging options in the CPG space. Packaging development for upcoming new releases are pursued with this in mind, and we plan to have some first-in-the-industry releases coming out in 2021.”
Mike concluded, noting that “There is something very real about our packaging that connects with consumers. It has a really natural feel, there’s a slight roughness to it, and the matte finish and earthier way that the colors print on the kraft paperboard all really align with our brand. It’s artisanal and speaks to our history as makers.”
For more innovative brands making waves in the plant-based sector, stick with us at Deli Market News.