At any level, personal, family or business, being more efficient and respectful in our daily lives requires a ‘change of chip’. This is, in our experience, the first step. And with the energy focused on that goal, everything starts to flow.

Here at Vicente Peris, the change of chip came many years ago and little by little we have been introducing improvements at different levels. At the beginning we did it internally, as part of the improvement processes that we considered coherent. A few years ago this became fully professionalized with the introduction of the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

The last of the efficiency improvements implemented and which is making a difference has been the installation of photovoltaic panels in the fresh cut plant, which allows us to be self-sufficient in a percentage of our energy generation. In just one year, we have managed to save more than 16% of electricity.

This is only thanks to the photovoltaic installation. Because the change of chip and the efficiency training of our team has also led us to a more responsible use of light, which has allowed us to save 3.21% more. In total, in 2022 we have achieved a 19.21% saving in electricity compared to the previous year.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris through the installation of solar panels

Water is also in our focus. At Peris, being a fruit and vegetable trading company, we consume a lot of water in the process of washing the pieces when they arrive from the field. We have also incorporated improvements in this phase. We have changed the nozzles of the washing machines and now, washing fruit and vegetables even better, water consumption is lower. Specifically, in 2022 we saved 4.27% of water compared to 2021.

As you can see, much of the efficiency comes from investing first, so certain steps, realistically, have to be taken little by little.

Efficiency in small doses, changes in daily processes

There are other steps that simply involve a change in the way things are done. For example, everything to do with recycling.

Recycling in a company is almost the same as recycling at home, but on a slightly larger scale.

In the company there are many more people than in a family nucleus to raise awareness of, for example, waste segregation, hence the constant training of our team.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris by sorting waste

We mainly generate paper, cardboard, wood and plastic as a result of our work process. Each of these materials, once they have served their purpose and will no longer be used, are separated for proper recycling. This step is completed with periodic visits from authorized waste managers who collect all this waste and take it away, perfectly separated, to treat it and give it a new life.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris by facilitating the reuse of materials

Because of our activity, when processing fruits and vegetables, we also generate organic waste, a percentage of which goes to a second phase of revaluation. Here are some examples.

Melon and pumpkin seeds for research projects

When we peel and cut melons and pumpkins, we discard the seeds. But there is still much wealth in them, since the oils extracted from them are used as an ingredient to replace saturated fats in the preparation of other foods.

This is well known at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, with whom we have been collaborating for a couple of years by sending them these seeds. They extract their oil and use it to make meat products (hamburgers, fuets, chorizo…) and also pastries, such as the famous Miguelitos de La Roda.

By eliminating part of the saturated fat used to produce these foods and replacing it with this vegetable oil full of properties, these products become healthier. This is known as ‘functional foods’.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris: melon seeds, a functional foodstuff

This research work is necessary for a vital second step: moving out of the laboratory and into the enterprise. In this way, healthier products reach the market, something that benefits the end consumer and, at the same time, gives value to ingredients such as seeds, which would otherwise end up in the garbage.

In fact, we also collaborate with companies that are already creating foods whose ingredients include oil extracted from melon seeds.

Fruit and vegetable peels for local livestock farmers

Another of our lines of work is the collaboration with a nearby livestock farm to which we provide fruit and vegetable leftovers that we eliminate in the pre-prepared convenience food process. Normally, they would end up in the garbage, but thanks to ‘our chip’ that makes us look for solutions to be more efficient, they end up in the stomach of cows. Nourishing them in a natural and healthy way.

In addition, we select what we send. Not everything goes, such as pineapple crowns, which can cause choking. So certain parts are removed and only those that are going to add value to their feed get to them.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris by supplying fruit and vegetable waste for livestock fattening

Single-use, sustainable and responsible packaging

There is another phase where we work efficiency in Vicente Peris, and it is in the choice of materials where we serve our products.

Single-use, recycled and recyclable plastics

Our fresh-cut fruits are served in single-use plastic containers. Today it is impossible to do otherwise. However, the packaging we work with at Peris is the most sustainable packaging you can find right now.

They are 100% recyclable, so it is very important that the consumer deposits them in a yellow container after use, which is indicated on the packaging itself. On the other hand, they are made from 70% recycled plastic, which is the maximum we can afford in order to comply with food safety, which is essential in our business.

Decarbonization of Vicente Peris: reusable and reused plastic containers

Cardboard boxes with water-based inks

We use cardboard boxes to serve our products in both the fresh-cut and pre-prepared convenience food ranges. These boxes are FSC certified, which assures us that they are manufactured with a mix of materials from certified forests, recycled materials and/or wood controlled by the standards of this certification.

The boxes are recycled in a large percentage, the maximum we can and that allows us, at the same time, that they are durable and can do their job of transporting the merchandise without breaking.

The paper comes from responsible sources and the inks we use for printing are water-based, which also makes them more sustainable.

FSC-certified cardboard boxes for the agri-food sector, Vicente Peris (frutifresh)

When the cardboard boxes have completed their life cycle with us, we pass them on to other companies for which they are still valid and which extend their useful life a little longer. And if they can no longer be used, they are recycled.

Knowing that we are an increasingly efficient company is something we like very much. It is gratifying to see how the changes we introduce are integrated into the day-to-day and work.

That there is still a long way to go, we know! This world still needs a lot of efficiency and ‘chip changes’ on everyone’s part to be able to face the environmental challenges ahead of us. And here, at Vicente Peris, we will continue to contribute to this.