Mark Hoppenjans of Sev-Rend® Discusses Sustainable Pack Options

Mark Hoppenjans of Sev-Rend® Discusses Sustainable Pack Options

COLLINSVILLE, IL - Produce packers are in search of sustainable packaging, and Sev-Rend® is here to help. I recently got in touch with Mark Hoppenjans, the company’s Vice President of Sales and Sustainable Business, to discuss what makes working with the Sev-Rend team so unique.

Mark Hoppenjans, Vice President of Sales and Sustainable Business, Sev-Rend®

“Clarity. We’re a little ahead on materials, cost, and the data retailers need from their supply chain,” Mark told me. “Sustainability is difficult. So many ideas in the market are conceptual or the cost cannot be passed on. Our team’s approach is less confusing. We are realistic about the price consumers are willing to pay and work to drive our material prices down.”

Two sustainable options by Sev-Rend are the pcr-ABLE and bio-ABLE packaging. Pcr-ABLE, using material that is often the quickest and most economical way to meet retailer guidelines of 20 percent recycled content and a 15 percent reduction in virgin plastic, features:

  • Post-consumer recycled material
  • Used on film, pouches, and steamable bags
  • Increases cost 2–20 percent compared to conventional material
Two sustainable options by Sev-Rend® are the pcr-ABLE and bio-ABLE packaging

Bio-ABLE is another offering. While the infrastructure is being built to reclaim more materials, Mark added that this is a good option with much less impact at the end of life. More details include:

  • Used in film, netting, pouches, and bags
  • Begins to break down 24 months after production to zero microplastics in any environment it ends up in
  • Increases costs 12–20 percent over conventional products in Sev-Rend’s line, though the company is working to drive this down for broader adoption

“At the percentages above, we have good traction in organics and with farms and packers that want to make packaging part of their own story. For sustainable packs to be mainstream, the price will need to get under a 10 percent increase which will be about a 2–3 percent increase passed on to the consumer on the overall filled pack,” Mark continued.

Bio-ABLE is a good option with much less impact at the end of life compared to some other offerings

Additionally, I got Mark’s take on how the industry is reacting to retailer-driven guidelines for 2025, and how they can set attainable targets.

“Since it's just 10 months away, we're getting a lot of inquiries on products that can meet the guidelines. Everyone wants to be sure it can run efficiently on their equipment, and they have a real sense of cost,” Mark stated. “The best path for industry members is to learn quickly and recognize some things your team is doing well already. This is what we mean by hittable targets. You want some data you can take to retailers that shows you know the targets and can support them in a measurable way.”

Sev-Rend has rated with EcoVadis since 2016, which is based in the EU and rates sustainable procurement programs in a very detailed way. Sev-Rend is aiming to reach silver medal status in 2024, which places the company in the top 25 percent of suppliers globally.

For sustainable packs to be mainstream, the price will need to get under a 10 percent increase, according to Sev-Rend®

“Sustainability started as a customer requirement for us about eight years ago. We did it because an important customer asked us to and we rated with EcoVadis,” Mark noted. “I'm glad we did because we've learned about the end user of our product and the people we are hiring. Younger consumers want to buy from and work at companies that are good stewards. This makes sense and they’ll be active in 2050 and beyond. Seeing things through this lens has made Sev-Rend a better company, focused on the life cycle of our product and our practices as a company.”

In that vein, Sev-Rend continues to add very talented people like Brittnie Hammack and Nathan Wise to the team. Sustainable practices are important, and people are finding their way to Sev-Rend because of its continued work in sustainability.

Sustainable industry practices aren’t going anywhere, so stick around as ANUK reports on the latest from Sev-Rend and others.

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