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Interview with Lecka

Ahead of next week's hybrid event, we spoke to Markus Gnirck, Founder & CEO at Lecka, who will be presenting as part of Delivering Sustainability in Packaging and Driving A Circular Economy session on day one of the conference. 
Q. You are going to be delivering a presentation on First Brand from Vietnam to the World: Lecka's Sustainable Journey for Compostable Packaging with Bio PBS, why do you think this is an important topic now? 

Our mission at Lecka is to become the leading healthy & eco-friendly snack brand in Asia. We believe that Asia's consumers are ready for healthier and more sustainable food options that add value to their active lifestyles. Our two core values are healthy nutrition and sustainability.
While we source our natural ingredients directly from Vietnamese farmers and reduce our carbon footprint by that significantly, we also invested in using bio-based and home compostable packaging. That makes up a big part of our efforts to be a carbon neutral and climate positive company.
We would like to show consumers and other businesses that it is possible to build a sustainable business, in terms of growth and the impact on our planet. No compromises!
 
Q. What do you think will be the biggest challenges to packaging sustainability in the next 12-24 months? How is your company/organization dealing with this challenge?
 
From our perspective we see several challenges for the sustainable packaging industry.
First, further investments in innovation are necessary to reduce costs to make sustainable packaging equally price competitive than conventional packaging solutions.
Second, as green packaging usually comes with less shelf life, we need to see a complete shift the supply chain and procurement processes. Consumers and businesses need to understand that saving the planet comes with a change in shelf lives.
Third, governments and policy makers can do more to incentive to drive the two previous points. Innovation accelerates if cost structure and/or incentives structures are implemented that would benefit brands and consumers that are part of that change.
 
Q. What does your company/organization hope to achieve over the next 5 years with regards to the future of packaging industry?  

We hope to become a serious regional player that offers our healthy & eco-friendly snacks to a lot of consumers in Asia – by still staying true to our core values. We want to drive adoption of healthy food options and help consumers life a more sustainable, eco-friendly life. 
By 2025 we want to have allowed millions of Asians to have a choice. A choice that a healthy and sustainable snack is not only a luxury good but also a possibility every day.
We are hoping to inspire other businesses to follow our path and invest in alternative, sustainable packaging solutions. Only collaboration of many players can drive innovation and increase adoption.
 
Q. As consumers and end-users continue to push for more sustainable/greener solutions, what do you think is the biggest concern regarding packaging?
 
While many consumers are interested in more sustainable packaging solutions, the price of a product is still a key decision-making factor. Often consumers understandably go for a cheaper product that is most likely packaged in plastic. The industry and governments need to change cost structures so that consumers have a fair choice and can fulfill their desire to buy a green product.
An additional concern is food safety. Education is necessary to make businesses and consumers understand that green packaging solutions provide the same food safety and nothing is compromised.
 
Q. What do you think will be some of the most interesting advancements in materials or packaging types in the near future?
 

We are excited to see more innovation around mycelium and other plant-based packaging. Packaging that is self-healing, that absorbs bacteria and keeps the product fresher longer.
 
Q. What sort of partnerships and collaborations do you think will be necessary to drive the industry forward on sustainability?
 
We need to see more collaboration between policy makers, businesses and manufacturers – the usual mix. All stakeholders can make a change, by doing little steps by themselves and/or by taking big steps together in one direction. We are looking forward to collaborate more with the Singapore government for example to make Singapore a hub for sustainable packaging and eco-friendly foods.
 
Q. Why do you feel it’s important for companies to attend the Sustainability in Packaging Asia?   

After two years COVID break, it is great to come together again and share the latest developments. The past few years have brought major changes to our personal and professional lives. Whether it is work, traveling, family life or well-being, all those changes impact the packaging world. Consumers perspectives on themselves and their environment has changed significantly and companies are adjusting strategies, supply chains and priorities. This conference is a great opportunity to learn from each other how those adjustments are taking place.

Q. What are you most looking forward to about attending the Sustainability in Packaging Asia 2022 conference?  

We are excited to share more about our journey as an upcoming brand from Vietnam that is expanding to other Asians markets now. We are looking forward to meeting other change makers that share our mission and are curious to learn from others who provide new perspectives.