HelloFresh’s Packaging Labs: Behind the scenes of packaging development at HelloFresh
HelloFresh’s Packaging Labs mark a place for innovation, knowledge exchange and quality control. Whether it’s reducing the overall amount of packaging or optimizing packaging to be more sustainable - our experts tackle packaging related challenges on a daily basis. They do this with the goal to provide our customers with the best experience and the highest product quality.
State-of-the-art Packaging Labs are where the future of packaging happens
Packaging innovation at HelloFresh happens both at a local and international level: Category Managers for packaging are responsible for keeping an eye out for local regulations, day-to-day operations and developments and trends in each of our markets. This includes engaging with local stakeholders in order to implement the most efficient and sustainable packaging solutions in the market. We also have central packaging teams:
Our central packaging team is located at the HelloFresh HQ in Berlin, Germany. From here, experts coordinate strategic packaging purchasing and conduct trend analyses for the markets.
Our International Packaging Lab is located within our Banbury distribution center in England. This is where experts develop new packaging solutions and insulation capabilities as well as where materials are tested and thermal validations are conducted.
A second Packaging Lab, specifically for the US market, is located in Newark, New Jersey. It’s scope is similar to the Packaging Lab in Banbury.
Thomas Regenhardt, Head of Packaging at HelloFresh says: "We launched our Packaging Labs about two years ago. The idea was to centralize our packaging expertise and to create a professional test environment that enables constant packaging testing and validation, from which all of our markets can benefit. Our Packaging Labs are where the future of packaging happens – they're also the heart of our quality controls and a vital part of our food safety efforts."
The right partnerships enable us to reach our goals faster
The packaging development process at HelloFresh is very dynamic: new test methods and products are continuously analysed, trends are observed and pilot projects are defined, trialed and tested. We work very closely with our partners - from co-developing materials to choosing the right production machines. Close cooperation and frequent exchange enable us to reduce risks and meet critical requirements for specifications, design, handling, application and feasibility.
Potential new partnerships are carefully considered. Are they compatible with the way our supply chain works? Do their packaging concepts match the requirements for our ingredients? Do their corporate principles regarding production, resource-friendliness and material origin correspond to those of our company? We ask these questions because we are always aiming for long-term partnerships that meet our high demands for sustainability, innovation and functionality.
Collaborations with Universities and research institutes accelerate the spirit of innovation
Collaborations with Universities and research institutes regularly provide us with fresh insights. For example: our packaging team regularly conducts research as part of small scale projects with students at Lund University in Sweden, Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and the National University of Food Technologies in Ukraine. "During my studies at Lund University, we developed the single-line box concept in a project seminar together with the HelloFresh packaging team. This was a completely new box concept for HelloFresh that rethought the conventionally used mealkit bags. It’s currently already used in the UK," says former Lund University student and member of the Supply, Product & Sustainability team, Theresa Stolberg.
In the future HelloFresh will continue to work on exciting and extensive projects together with Universities and research institutions such as the Wuppertal Institute and the Fraunhofer Institute. We are looking forward to collaborating with experienced scientists in order to find solutions for our industry-specific challenges.
We always put our newly developed packaging solutions to the test
Before a newly developed packaging solution ends up in a mealkit and ultimately in our customers' kitchens, it has to undergo various tests in our Packaging Labs. These include heat insulation, water absorption and structural resistance tests. To be fully prepared, we simulate our supply chain in our laboratories. This is the only way to ensure quality, safety and a positive customer experience.
Any changes that our packaging undergoes – including the packaging type, the composition of our ice packs, as well as changes to the delivery route or exposure time (the time the box is not in a temperature-controlled environment) – must be validated in our Packaging Labs and jointly approved by the Packaging and FSQA (Food Safety & Quality Assurance) teams before implementation or application. From the highest levels of expertise and sophisticated testing procedures, to a strong spirit of innovation - there is more to our packaging solutions than meets the eye.