When you walk through the aisles of the world’s biggest grocery stores and supermarkets, you’ll nearly always encounter a sea of plastic. From snacks to produce, most food products are wrapped in plastic. And it makes sense: plastic packaging is effective at protecting food from contamination, moisture, and damage during transportation and storage. But, of course, there’s a big problem with all this packaging—it doesn’t biodegrade.

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly half of all the trash in the US is made up of food packaging materials. And in the UK, food and drink packaging accounts for more than 80 percent of all the plastic packaging thrown away by households. Most of this isn’t recyclable (or isn’t sorted into the recycling bin), and will therefore end up in the landfill, where it will stay for centuries, leaching microplastics into the soil and contributing to potent methane emissions.

As consumers, it’s hard to avoid plastic packaging. But some brands are trying to make it easier for people to make more environmentally responsible purchasing decisions. In a world-first, British food manufacturer Upfield, for example, recently announced that its vegan Flora Plant butter will be packaged in a plastic-free tub. From April 17, Brits can find the product in Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

“We know UK shoppers want products that have less climate impact but are unsure how to do this easily,” Ian Hepburn, Upfield’s marketing director, said in a statement. “We launched Flora Plant last year and now we’ve gone one step further by bringing world-first packaging innovation to UK supermarket shelves, helping shoppers to make simple sustainable swaps.”

7 brands taking plastic out of the food industry

Upfield isn’t alone in trying to rid the shelves of so much plastic. Below, you can find seven food brands that are also committed to plastic-free packaging.

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1 West~Bourne

From olive to sunflower, plenty of cooking oils are packaged in plastic. But California brand West~Bourne is among the brands committed to removing the material from the industry. All of its avocado oil products, including its Organic Extra Virgin Avocado Oil and 100% Pure Avocado Oil, are packaged in glass bottles. According to the new brand, so far, it has saved as much plastic waste as 2,527 plastic straws. The brand also offers products like Pistachio Dukkah chocolate and Togarashi Crunch snack mix in compostable packaging.
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2 Sun & Swell

Sun & Swell is not just plastic-free, but it’s also woman-owned, a certified B Corp, and a member of 1% for the Planet. Its super tasty vegan snack options include Fudge Brownie Real Food Bars, Organic Pineapple Rings, and Roasted Nuts & Seeds Trail Mix, and all of them (yes, all of them) are packaged in 100-percent compostable packaging. “We’re a pioneer in the food industry when it comes to moving away from single-use packaging,” the brand notes on its website. “We are hopeful to soon see other brands follow our lead.”
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3 Kencko

New York-based Kencko launched back in 2016, and its key mission is to make healthier eating easier and more sustainable. The brand isn’t completely plastic-free (yet), but all of its instant smoothies, which FYI, are made with real fruit and vegetables, come packaged in plant-based compostable sachets.
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4 Loving Earth

If you love chocolate, but don’t love the plastic wrapper you have to throw away after you’ve enjoyed your treat, then check out the Australian brand Loving Earth. Despite its plastic-like appearance, all of the brand’s tasty chocolate bars—which come in flavors like Hazelnut Mylk and Creamy Coconut Mylk, are wrapped in plant-based, compostable packaging.
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5 Apeel

Despite the fact most of it has its own natural wrapping anyway, often, fruit and vegetables are packaged in plastic in the supermarket. But US food tech company Apeel is committed to changing this. The brand has created an edible coating for products like cucumbers, avocados, and other fruits and vegetables that help them to last longer on the shelves and eliminate the need for plastic. According to the brand, one truckload of cucumbers without plastic wrap will save the equivalent of around 100,000 plastic straws.
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6 Lickalix

Popsicles don’t need to be covered in plastic wrap, and British brand Lickalix has proved it. Its delicious, handmade lollies, which are made with organic, real fruit, are packaged in 100-percent compostable wrappers. Right now, they’re stocked at the UK online supermarket Ocado.
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7 Notpla

Based in London, Notpla—winner of the Prince of Wales’ Earthshot Prize—hit the headlines in 2019 when it provided London Marathon runners with biodegradable seaweed pods filled with sports drinks. The brand is still going strong, and as well as a variety of compostable takeaway box options, it also makes single-use Notpla pipettes filled with olive oil. Notpla doesn’t sell its products directly to customers—instead, its products are designed for use in the food service sector.
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