8 Food Brands Redefining Sustainable Packaging in the CPG Space

8 Food Brands Redefining Sustainable Packaging in the CPG Space

Every year, roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean, causing the well-documented problems of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, producing microplastics throughout the marine ecosystem, and threatening biodiversity. 

Source: Ocean Conservancy

Snack packaging is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to ocean pollution. Nearly all of today’s snacks come in traditional single-use plastic (90+% by our assessment of supermarket shelves in the Bay Area). In fact, the ocean conservancy ranks plastic food packaging as the #3 most prevalent form of ocean trash collected. 


Because we created 12 Tides to have a positive impact on the oceans, simply opting for single-use, petroleum-based plastic wasn’t an option. So, we made an early commitment to find and implement the most sustainable alternatives to traditional single-use, petroleum-based plastics. In this article, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite brands in the CPG space who have joined us on the sustainable packaging journey. 

Source: Zero Grocery


  1. Zero Grocery

A plastic-free grocery delivery service with a mission to remove single-use plastics from food systems, Zero Grocery works directly with suppliers to sell food and other household items in reusable jars and containers in wholesale sizes and prices. Available only for customers who live in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, California, these lucky shoppers have a selection of 1,300+ items to choose from, including big name brands such as Annie’s and Newman’s Own!



Source: Good Eggs 


  1. Alter Eco

As if providing organic, fair trade chocolate with clean ingredients wasn’t enough! Alter Eco is a chocolate company based in San Francisco, CA who launched the world’s first compostable wrappers for their chocolate truffles in 2013 as well as a compostable stand up pouch for its quinoa in 2016. Fun fact: the truffle wrappers and pouch are made from eucalyptus and birch with non-toxic ink and the pouches have another layer made of non-GMO corn. Their chocolate bars are also wrapped in recyclable aluminum foil and FSC Certified paper! 


Source: Sun & Swell


  1. Sun & Swell

Organic, plastic-free groceries alert #2! Based in Santa Barbara, CA, Sun & Swell sells online groceries that are organic, plant-based, and free from added sugars, preservatives, or flavors (they’re also gluten and soy free!). What’s unique about them is that over 75% of their products come in compostable packaging. For customers who do not have access to compost facilities, Sun & Swell is currently piloting a compostable bag send-back program, which allows people to send back their Sun & Swell compostable bags so they can be properly composted. In addition, Sun & Swell provides eco-friendly shipping. The groceries are packaged in compostable shipping boxes that use compostable tape and no ink heavy printing and plastic inserts. Plus, there’s an option to have carbon neutral shipping! As a fellow B Corp and 1% for the Planet, we love how Sun & Swell is truly living out its values and being intentional with ingredient sourcing, environmental sustainability, and philanthropy.  



Source: Loving Earth


  1. Loving Earth

Looks like compostable packaging is making waves over in Australia! Headquartered in Melbourne, Loving Earth is an organic, plant-based chocolate company whose “vibe” is the bean-to-bar process. Not only do they care about working with small producer communities, but the company also values the end of lifecycle and is intentional with their packaging. Loving Earth’s chocolate bars are wrapped in what looks like regular plastic but is actually a compostable film made from renewable plant resources. Amazing! Additionally, their chocolate boxes are made from post consumer fibre with vegetable based inks instead of the industry-standard chemicals. Translation: no new trees are cut down to make boxes and no toxic chemicals pouring into water supplies because of harmful dyes. Another win for the planet!

Source: Cratejoy


  1. Don Maslow Coffee

While most specialty coffee companies have found it challenging to use more sustainable packaging because of the extra durability and protective packaging they require, Don Maslow Coffee has found a way around traditional packaging. The coffee company has become one of the first to sell coffee bags with 100% compostable zippers, valves, and labels! Special thanks to their partners - Elevate Packaging and PURE Labels - Don Maslow Coffee is now certified compostable according to ASTM D6868 and EN13432 standards, and wow, can we just say: numbers and letters have never sounded so sexy!

Source: Straus Milk Creamery 

  1. Straus Family Creamery

Don’t you just love the look of reusables made from glass? (We do!) Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but they also promote zero waste. Since beginning in 1994, Straus Family Creamery has sold their organic milk in reusable glass milk bottles, leading the zero waste movement before it was popular. Upon purchase, customers pay a small deposit which then gets refunded if they return the bottles to the store. After, the bottles are returned to the Creamery where they are washed, sanitized and reused about five times before re-entering the recycling stream. The goal is to eliminate waste from landfills and oceans. And the numbers look good! Not only is there a return rate of more than 80% of bottles but also Straus Family Creamery customers help prevent around 500,000 pounds of milk containers and plastic from entering the landfill each year. Yay for zero waste!


Source: Kencko

  1. Kencko

Now your smoothies are not just healthy for you but for the planet too! Say hello to cornstarch, the renewable resource behind the film of the compostable and plant-based instant smoothie packets from B Corp company, Kencko. Besides the inner packaging, Kencko also makes their inner box from sugar fiber (compostable or recyclable) and their outer mailing boxes, postcards, and leaflets from 100% recycled paper, so no new trees are cut down to make the packaging. More trees, less waste!

Source: 12 Tides

  1. 12 Tides

As an ocean-friendly brand, sustainable packaging has been at the core of our company since day one! Our packaging is ASTM D6400 compostable, meaning it will decompose into compost within six months in an industrial setting. Moving forward, we’re excited to continue our sustainable packaging innovation through improving the sustainability of our materials beyond our pouch (packaging materials, brand merchandise, etc.) and working with composting networks around the U.S. to implement the correct labeling and perform the appropriate testing to ensure our products are composted appropriately. Because we’re all about good-for-you, good-for-the-planet snacking!

What's next?

As a snack company, we hope to play a role in facilitating the discussion around sustainable packaging for small brands and provide resources that help small brands make a transition to sustainable packaging. The roadway to sustainable packaging isn’t easy but we’re here to share the journey, celebrate the wins (the big and small), and learn from one another. Together, we can help each other out while making a positive impact for the planet.