Profile

We are

AHEAD OF THE PACK
We dream of sandcastles instead of rubbish heaps. We dream of birds soaring in the sky instead of plastic bags blown by the wind. We want to celebrate every step towards a more ecological lifestyle in today’s modern world. 30,000 tonnes of plastic netting are used every year in Europe and we wanted to give this netting a run for its money – if not replace it completely! This was the beginning of our Packnatur® Cellulose Tube Netting made from a beechwood-based material.
TECHNOLOGY + ECOLOGY = INNOVATION

Shortly after Helmut Meininger founded VPZ as a food packaging company in Graz, Austria, in 1982, he and his daughter Susanne Meininger turned the focus of product development towards the environment. They weren’t driven by profitability, but rather a strong belief that they could do things differently – and better. For mankind and the environment. The fruits of their creative labours, as well as their desire to play an active role in shaping the future, came in the form of innovative biogenic packaging concepts.

The breakthrough came after 25 years of research. Compostable net packaging, better known today as the Packnatur® Cellulose Tube Netting, was the product that finally turned their convictions into reality – an ingenious packaging solution that left its forerunners standing and was incapable of harming the environment. Meanwhile, Packnatur® Tube Netting is used in all leading European supermarket chains for potatoes, onions, citrus fruits, etc. and is currently taking over the international market, including the USA, South Africa and New Zealand.

For the Swiss Coop VPZ developed a reusable, cellulose-based bag for loose fruit and vegetables, which was launched under the name of ‘Multi-bag’ in their stores in November 2017. In November 2018, this Packnatur® Pick Pack was also adopted by the Austrian company REWE International AG and introduced in all its MERKUR, BILLA, ADEG and SUTTERLÜTY supermarkets.

2019 was the year in which we took another step into the future. The new Packnatur® Entwicklungs- und Produktions GmbH company was founded with headquarters in Neudau, Styria. With a past steeped in the textile industry, Neudau’s history is now being continued here with our beechwood-based Packnatur® net packaging. Besides creating new jobs, we have also opened up new prospects for the local textile industry. This resulted in 20 new jobs at the site, with two additional phases planned for the near future.

The second stage of expansion, involving more machines and an additional production hall, was co-financed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund. More information can be found at www.efre.gv.at .

Our path
towards the future

1982
Founding of the VPZ Verpackungszentrum company
by Helmut Meininger

1989
Daughter Susanne Meininger takes over the reins and the company begins
to focus on biogenic packaging

1997 *
Launch of the research project “Textile net packaging made from natural fibres”, funded by the Austrian government as part of the Factory of the Future (Fabrik der Zukunft) initiative. Work begins developing a machine that will produce woven net bags.

*This was the year that the first large accumulation of ocean plastic was found: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

2011
Launch of the ‘Cellulose tube netting’ research project in cooperation with Lenzing AG, the yarn manufacturer Borckenstein, and the vegetable growers’ organisation Marchfeldgemüse.

2012
Market launch of the Packnatur® Cellulose Tube Netting for Ja! Natürlich products

2015
Internationalisation begins

2016
Registration of the Packnatur® brand name

2016
Market launch of the Packnatur® Organic Wineglass Labels

2017
Market launch of the Packnatur® Reusable Bag

2019
The Packnatur Entwicklungs- und Produktionsges.m.b.H. was founded
Production of the Packnatur® Cellulose Tube Netting began
Founding of a Centre of Excellence for Textile Packaging in Neudau in Styria, Austria

2020
Market launch of the Packnatur® Pop-up Bags

We are delighted
to have won these awards
AWARDS (just a few of our many)

2021
Handelsmerkur

2021
Green Packaging Star Award for Packnatur® Pop-up Bag

2021
ranked as „World´s 18th Best Designer in 2021,
category Sustainable Products, Projects and Green Design“
at the international A´ Design Award

2020
Worldstar Packaging Award
for the Packnatur® Pick Pack reusable bag
made from beechwood cellulose

2019
Sustainable Food Awards /
Sustainable Packaging category / Runner-Up

2019
Rushlight Awards Commended 2018/19

2018
Austrian State Prize
for Smart Packaging in the B2C category

2018
Worldstar Packaging Award
for the Packnatur® Cellulose Tube Netting and Organic Wineglass Labels
in the Food Packaing category,
Sustainable Award (Silver), Presidential Award (Bronze),
Lifetime Achievement Award for company founder Helmut Meininger

2018
Energy Globe Styria Award in the Global category

2017
Green Packaging Star Award

2017
European CEO Entrepreneur of the Year Award /
Western Europe / Packaging Industry

2016
National Champion at the European Business Awards 2016/17

2016
Green Product Award

2016
6th place in the world ranking of all A´ Design Award
entrants from the last 8 years in the Sustainable Products,
Projects and Green Design category

2015
Among the top 3 in the International Green Tec Awards
in the Manufacturing category

2014
Green Packaging Star Award

2014
International A´ Design Award (Silver) in the Sustainable
Products and Projects category / Green Design Award

2013
Ögut Environmental Award

2013
International Materialica Design + Technology Award in the CO2 Efficiency category

2013
Fast Forward Award
(a business and innovation award from the Austrian state of Styria)

2013
Fibre Plus
(award from the Austrian paper industry for innovations using cellulose)

2013
Energy Globe Award Styria

2012
Commendation for the cellulose tube netting
as an ‘Exemplary packaging solution’ at the Austrian
State Prize for Packaging

2012
Daphne Environmental Technology Award (Bronze)
for the Cellulose Tube Netting

2004
The Trigos Award for the development of organic net bags

2001
Eco-Design-Preis

1997
Environmental Protection Award from the City of Graz

1995
Environmental Protection Award from the Styrian state government

1995
Innovation Award from the Styrian Chamber of Commerce