GENET archive


9-Misc: UK company develops non-GE food wrap

   "In the United Kingdom, for example, GM-free packaging is an absolute
    prerequisite. Those are trends that are spreading to Europe, and it's
    a market that Compak is very well positioned to service."

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Packagers seek to wrap up Europe
SOURCE: Western Mail, UK, by Rhodri Evans
DATE:   12 Jan 2005

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Packagers seek to wrap up Europe

A MID WALES company is aiming to revolutionise the European market for
the packaging of fresh produce after receiving a substantial round of
equity investment.

The investment, which came from a syndicate of two private investors,
will allow Lampeter-based Compak to extend the scope of its activities
and to cement relationships with customers.

The company supplies a range of environmentally-friendly packaging materials.

Its products for the fresh produce sector include netting, trays, films
and flower pots. While they appear conventional they have unusual
environmentally friendly properties.

"All of these materials look identical to conventional items widely
available but are environmentally-friendly in the ways in which they are
disposed of," said Compak's commercial director Mark Bellamy.

"They adhere to stringent UK and European composting standards - within
12 weeks they completely compost down into good useful compost which is a
great plus for the environment when compared against ordinary packaging
since there is no adverse environmental impact."

"Our environmental materials products are underpinned by intellectual
property rights and also differentiate themselves in that they're
completely free from genetically-modified organisms," he added.

"The way that food is stored, packaged and sold is changing across the
world, and is being driven by what customers want.

"In the United Kingdom, for example, GM-free packaging is an absolute

"Those are trends that are spreading to Europe, and it's a market that
Compak is very well positioned to service."

Compak was set up in 2003 after many years of research and product
development in the food produce packaging industry by its founder and
managing director Dave Holbourn.

Mr Holbourn was struck by the wastefulness of disposal methods in the
industry - which generally involved sending used packaging and containers
straight to landfill sites. He formed his business to seize the
commercial oppor-tunities to reduce these inef-ficiencies. He and his
team spent the following year working with target clients in the food
sector, including supermarket account managers and packaging
technologists, to demonstrate the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of
Compak's product range.

That approach is now paying off, with the firm starting to receive orders
from several well-known UK supermarket and food retailers.

The injection of capital in to the company was arranged by Xenos, who
have been arranging investments for Wales' business angel community for
over seven years.

The involvement of the business angel network gave Compak's directors the
chance to circulate and present their growth prospects to a Wales-wide
network of over 130 potential investors. It culminated in the syndicated
deal with two private individuals.

Compak's management team hope to see their most ambitious plans come to
fruition over the next 18 months. In a substantial joint venture with
Korean partners in the food packaging industry, they plan to establish a
major manufacturing operation in Wales to supply European food markets
with a new product.

The plant will manufacture "E-wrap", a film-wrapping very similar to
cling-film in appearance, but with all the environmental benefits of
Compak's GM-free product range.

E-wrap is undergoing a series of final trials and is made using a unique
plastic compound that will retail at the same price as conventional films
used in food packaging.

Compak is already a distributor of the product and its management team
feel that it holds enormous market potential.

"There's undoubtedly a large market for E-wrap, but attacking it in the
right way is the big challenge," said Mr Holbourn.

"We feel this collaboration will allow us to get it right from the
outset, and our partners feel that Wales will make an ideal base from
which to supply European customers."


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