Baby Spinach by Fresh Attitude

overall rating:

2

planets

Anushka Sah
8/31/2021
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Fresh Attitude is one of the famous salad brands in the USA and Canada with its products selling in packaged plastic boxes in ~4000 stores. Fresh Attitude’s baby spinach is 100% organic meaning they don’t use any pesticide or herbicide for growing the baby spinach. The pre-washed and packaged green veggies scores high on the convenience scale but definitely not much on the sustainability scale. Considering the organic side of spinach, Fresh Attitude is a go-to option for consumers but looking at the packaging side I believe consumers can be a bit hesitant. Definitely the dilemma between organic nature of spinach vs plastic packaging is not easy for consumers to choose from. As Vegpro had already said no to virgin plastic and are continuously working towards innovating the green packaging, it is safe to say that they are on a right track to reduce the environmental footprint.

Hence, Fresh Attitude deserves a 2 planet for its organic baby spinach, eliminating usage of virgin plastic, continuous innovation for green packaging, and efforts towards improvement of land-water resources. The complete removal of plastic packaging, information about labour practices and workforce composition will definitely increase the Fresh Attitude’s sustainability rating. 

What it's made of:

2.75

Fresh Attitude baby spinach is organic and Ecocert certified. According to USDA, “produce can be called organic if it’s certified to have grown on soil that had no prohibited substances applied for three years prior to harvest.” In other words, the ingredients that are not organic, are unsustainable as they might use pesticides and herbicides leading to soil and groundwater pollution. Ecocert is “an independent and impartial certification body assessing the conformity of a product, service or system with environmental and social requirements specified in a standard”. Ecocert certification informs consumers of the origin of raw materials and organic ingredients in the products. 

How it's made:

2

In the packing plants, the baby spinach is rinsed in two different water basins and then packed in plastic containers. One of the important points to note is that the baby spinach or other salads are harvested only when retailers place the order so as to avoid wastage.

Vegpro International Inc. has 4 packaging plants based in the USA (Florida) and Canada (Quebec and British Columbia). The clamshell boxes are made from 100% recyclable plastic. Even the containers can be recycled after use. According to the Fresh Attitude, “bowls, lids, and inserts are made from PET plastic, films are from OPET and PET plastic”. The recycled plastic used for making containers is much better than virgin plastic. According to the scientific analysis conducted by Groupe AGÉCO, “using 100% recycled PET reduces GHG emissions and consumption of non-renewable resources required to manufacture packaging”. Fresh Attitude further adds, “our research showed that the rigid nature of the 100% recycled and recyclable Fresh Attitude containers prevents the product from being compressed and thus protects the leaves. The containers also improve airflow and extend shelf life by limiting the production of excess humidity. So, the baby lettuce stays fresher and crisper longer”. As we all know plastic packaging is extremely harmful to our environment as plastics are non-biodegradable and stays in the environment for a long time even after they are discarded. Fresh Attitude’s commitment to replace virgin plastic and search for a more sustainable alternative is appreciated.

The salads (green leaf) are highly perishable compared to other veggies. In addition to this, salads loose moisture and start to wilt with time much faster. Unfortunately, paper bags are definitely not a good solution. Hence, at present there is no better option than plastic in the market. Although there is no research on usage and environmental impact of plastic bag vs plastic box for packaging, it would be interesting to see if one is better than the other or not. Factors like perishability of salads, rate of dehydration, chemical composition, reuse and recycling of plastic bag or box will determine the winner in this race.

Other than the packaging, the production and selling of Fresh Attitude baby spinach are mainly located in the USA and Canada which reduces the energy footprint caused by transport.

Who makes it:

1.5

Founded in 1998, Vegpro International Inc. is the leading producer of salads in Canada and sells its products under the brand Fresh Attitude. Fresh Attitude “offer consumers the freshest ready-to-eat healthy meals made with fresh lettuces, fruits, and vegetables grown from trusted local sources”.

Vegpro International Inc. have farms in the USA (Florida, Arizona, and California) and Canada (Quebec and British Columbia) where they grow salads and vegetables round the year. In their Florida farms they are putting major efforts to improve and protect the land and water resources by constructing the dikes, installing the underground aqueducts, and working on drainages. As agricultural activities requires a lot of water, irresponsible use of water can jeopardize water use by future generations. Similarly, continues cropping can deteriorate the quality of land over time. Although the efforts to preserve the land and water resources by Vegpro International Inc. is appreciative, it would be good to know and see if they are implementing these efforts in other farms too.

Vegpro International Inc. has done a fantastic job by informing about their farms and packaging facilities but it is dissatisfying to see no information about their labour practices. As agriculture is one of the unpopular sector for unfair labor practices, it is important for consumers to check if the product is sustainable from the social perspective or not. In addition to this, it will be really helpful both for the company and consumers to see the worker composition and workforce related data (male to female ratio). Fresh Attitude deserves a 1.5 planet.