The latest contender for plastic packaging replacement could be Durapulp fiber, which is used to create biodegradable packaging to replace the black plastic trays often used in ready meals and raw beef products, says GlobalData (globaldata.com), a leading data and analytics company.

The producer, Finnish packaging manufacturer Huhtamaki, has been trialing Durapulp fiber in the ready meal category in the U.K. since May 2018 up until the end of June 2018. The company hopes that the trial will eventually lead to the adoption of biodegradable packaging in ready meals.

“The main issue with black plastic trays is the color. Black is used as it makes pack contents stand out better and appear more attractive on shelves. However, optical sorting equipment in recycling facilities has difficulty detecting black packs and most of the time fails to do so,” said Ryan Choi, consumer analyst at GlobalData, commented.

“The main problems facing manufacturers of new packaging materials are the cost of manufacturing and how well the pack can last. Plastic was always the perfect solution, being cheap with a long life cycle—albeit too long.”

Although the packaging trials will highlight the usefulness of the packaging material in practice, potential adopters of the new packaging materials will asses how well the new material delivers in two areas. If the new pack isn’t cost effective to produce at the same time as offering a long enough life cycle, it will not be adopted, even if it is more environmentally friendly.