Aiming to provide fresh insights towards the company’s journey to develop the most sustainable food package
Tetra Pak has commenced ground-breaking research towards advancing fibre-based sustainable food packaging, in collaboration with MAX IV – the most modern synchrotron1 radiation laboratory in the world. The research aims to uncover fresh insights into the nanostructure of fibre materials, with the first application to optimise the composition of materials used for paper straws.
This is the very first industrial research and development experiment at ForMAX, a brand new research station dedicated to studying materials from the forest, located at the MAX IV Laboratory in Lund, Sweden.
As the global demand for safe, nutritious food intensifies, and the scarcity of raw materials increases, the need to develop more sustainable packaging solutions that use less of these scarce resources has become urgent. New materials based on paper will bring novel opportunities, but they need to remain food safe, recyclable, be more durable against liquids and humidity, while meeting the increased sustainability demands.
Eva Gustavsson, Vice President Materials & Package, Tetra Pak, says: “A fundamental understanding of the structure and properties of materials is crucial as we work towards developing the package of the future. Our ambition is to provide the world’s most sustainable food package, and experiments at ForMAX will clearly support us in this mission.
“The package of the future needs to be fully recyclable and have a low environmental impact. Using renewable materials and increasing the use of fibre-based material within packages will be vital. With this research, Tetra Pak is helping to uncover fresh insights into plant-based materials as a basis for future innovations.”
Kim Nygård, Manager, ForMAX beamline, MAX IV says: “The experiment conducted at ForMAX is a milestone for both academia and industry. The research station is the first of its kind and will facilitate both fundamental and applied industrial research on how new, sustainable materials can be used going forward. We are proud to support Tetra Pak in its development of sustainable packaging materials for the future.”
About Tree search
The construction of ForMAX has been funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, and the operating costs are funded by the industry through Treesearch, a national collaborative platform for academic and industrial research in new materials from the forest. As an industrial partner in Treesearch, Tetra Pak is one of the initiators and facilitators of ForMAX.
1Synchrotron radiation is the electromagnetic radiation emitted when charged particles travel in curved paths perpendicular to their velocity
Sun-Rype Products, a division of A. Lassonde Inc., a Canadian fruit-based food and beverage manufacturer, announced that they have replaced plastic straws with recyclable, bendable paper straws on all SunRype 200 ml single-serve beverage boxes in Canada. This includes all of SunRype’s 200 ml 100 per cent juice, and 200 ml 60 per cent less sugar juice products.
“We are on track to meet our sustainable development objectives by 2025,” said Claire Bara, President, A. Lassonde. “We plan on incorporating recyclable packaging for all of our products, and the launch of paper straws on our single-serve juice products is another step in the right direction. We know that our customers place a lot of importance on finding products that meet today’s environmental challenges, and these SunRype juice containers with new bendable paper straws are now available at Canadian grocery retailers – just in time for back to school lunch boxes.”
All packaging on SunRype’s 200 ml multi-layered Tetra Pak product containers is recyclable. By choosing this package with SunRype’s new paper straws, made from FSC-certified paper, consumers are making the choice of a more sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging option.
“In 2020, Lassonde was the first company in Canada to manufacture and commercialize the 200 ml bendable paper straw under the Kiju organic brand, as well as our water brands Simple Drop and Fruit Drop,” said Bara. “We are pleased to provide our customers with this environmentally responsible paper straw on all 200 ml beverage containers of our iconic brand, SunRype.
The launch of the paper straw follows Lassonde’s recent launch of new bottles containing 25 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic (rPET) for all its juice brands available in 300 ml portion-size packages in Canada.
By 2023, SunRype is aiming for a 25 per cent post-consumer recycled content in its PET bottles; using 100 per cent recyclable packaging for all its products; and working with governments, industry and associations to promote the collection of recyclable materials.
Following the news that the Coca-Cola Company is trialling its first paper bottle; Alice Popple, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:
“Coca-Cola trialling a new paper bottle comes as no surprise as there has been an increase in sustainability initiatives from brands attempting to revamp strategy and ensure longevity post COVID-19. Brand’s sustainability initiatives will be vital in the future as GlobalData’s research reveals that nearly half (48 %)1 of global shoppers view ‘plastic-free packaging’ claims to be more important to them now, than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with 13 %1 claiming that it is a top priority.
“Last year saw a decline in revenue for Coca-Cola as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic2, therefore a strategy switch up is necessary to boost sales and interest in the brand. One in three (31 %)3 of global consumers say that they have stopped or are buying less carbonated soft drinks than before the pandemic – a main reason for this may be the excess of single-use plastic in the sector, aligning to the high degree of importance that plastic free packaging is currently experiencing.
“Joining the zero-waste initiative is vital for consumer satisfaction in 2021, with over a third (36 %)1 of global shoppers being specifically interested in a brand’s new sustainability initiatives following the pandemic. Coca-Cola’s trial of its first paper bottle will stem other market leaders to follow suit.”
1GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Consumer Survey Results: Week 11 – Global (Published 9th December 2020) – Combined responses: “It is now my top priority”, “It is significantly more important to me”, and “It is slightly more important to me”
2GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Company Impact: Coca-Cola H2 Update
3GlobalData’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Recovery Consumer Survey Results: Week 11 – Global (Published 9th December 2020) – Combined responses: “I have stopped buying this”, “I am buying significantly lower quantities than before”, and “I am buying slightly lower quantities than before”
Coca-Cola in Europe will trial its first ever paper bottle prototype. The move marks a further step in fulfilling The Coca-Cola Company’s global vision of achieving a “World Without Waste”, in which the Company has pledged to ensure all of its packaging is collected, recycled or re-used by 2030.
The new paper bottle prototype has been developed through a partnership between scientists at the Coca-Cola Research and Development Laboratories in Brussels and The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco).The technology developed by Paboco is designed to create 100 % recyclable bottles made of sustainably sourced wood with a bio-based material barrier capable of resisting liquids, CO2 and oxygen, and suitable for liquid goods such as carbonated and still drinks, beauty products and more. The current prototype consists of a paper shell with a recyclable* plastic lining and cap. The ultimate goal is a bottle that can be recycled as paper.
“The trial we are announcing today is a milestone for us in our quest to develop a paper bottle”, said Daniela Zahariea, Director of Technical Supply Chain & Innovation for Coca-Cola Europe. “People expect Coca-Cola to develop and bring to market new, innovative and sustainable types of packaging. That’s why we are partnering with experts like Paboco, experimenting openly and conducting this first in-market trial. It’s part of delivering on our World Without Waste commitments.”
The trial is scheduled to take place in the second quarter of this year and will involve the Company’s plant-based AdeZ drink being offered to 2,000 consumers in Hungary, through a partnership with Kifli.hu – one of Hungary’s fastest growing online grocery retailers.
The launch is an important step in seeing how the paper bottle prototype performs and how consumers react, according to Coca-Cola Europe’s Stijn Franssen, R&D Packaging Innovation Manager. The paper bottle prototype is 100 % recyclable* and currently consists of a paper shell, with a recyclable plastic lining and cap. Mr Franssen said the Company’s partnership with Paboco is focused on developing a paper bottle than can be fully recycled as paper.
“This trial will provide us with invaluable insight and feedback”, said Mr Franssen. “We will get to see how the paper bottle prototype performs as packaging and what consumers think and feel about it. This is an exciting step forward for us, as it means we’re out of the lab and into the real world. So for the first time, consumers will actually be drinking one of our products from a potentially new type of paper packaging”, he added.
*where technology is available
Lassonde announced that bendable paper straws will replace plastic straws in all 200 ml single-serve boxes of Kiju and Simple Drop Natural Spring Water products. This initiative marks a first-to-market in Canada and provides consumers with 100 % recyclable packaging. Kiju and Simple Drop products are managed by its Nothing but Nature division. These products are now available at major Canadian grocery retailers, just in time for back-to-school.
“Adding paper straws to two of our brands is an important step for Lassonde to make our packaging even more eco-friendly,” says Jean Gattuso, President and COO of Lassonde Industries Inc. “The market testing we did in fall 2019 on adding paper straws to our 200 ml containers showed consumer interest for innovative packaging. We’re pleased to offer consumers 100 % recyclable packaging made largely from renewable material.”
The paper straws are made from FSC-certified paper, and both the straws and multi-layer boxes meet the highest standards of quality.
“We decided to add paper straws to two brands that are popular with consumers who are particularly concerned about the environmental impact of their purchases. Kiju is the most popular brand of organic juice in Canada, while Simple Drop natural spring water offers an alternative to plastic water bottles., During this pandemic, it’s important to provide alternative option since it has become more difficult to access water fountains in schools, offices and public spaces,” adds Claire Bara, Executive Vice-president and General Manager, Marketing, Trade and Product Development for A. Lassonde Inc.
Multilayer cartons now recycled in Quebec
In May 2020, Sustana Fiber’s mill in Lévis, Québec, announced a Canadian first with the development of new processes to recycle multilayer juice and milk cartons. It can now annually process 3,000 to 4,000 tons of these cartons collected from across the country. The replacement of plastic straws will increase the percentage of recyclable fibre and supply the new facility in Lévis.
“Each recycled multilayer carton provides the raw material needed to continue producing essential items like toilet paper and paper napkins.” says Isabelle Faucher, Managing Director of the Carton Council of Canada. “Stable and thriving end-markets for post-consumer cartons are important to the success of national recycling and recovery efforts. Increased carton recycling helps preserve natural resources, meet important diversion and recycling goals, create jobs and, in the case of COVID-19, helps to avoid shortages of the pulp needed to manufacture essential items.
Sustainable development at Lassonde
This initiative is in line with the company’s sustainable development objectives. By 2025, Lassonde wants to:
- Find alternatives to plastic straws
- Incorporate 20 % post-consumer recycled content in its packaging
- Introduce 100 % recyclable packaging for all its products, while working with governments, the industry and associations to promote the efficient sorting and collection of recyclable materials.
Other Lassonde environmental initiatives include ongoing efforts to reduce its packaging weight and the quantity of water used in its chilling and purification processes.
Lassonde Industries Inc. is a North American leader in the development, manufacturing and sale of a wide range of fruit and vegetable juices and drinks marketed under recognized brands such as Apple & Eve, Everfresh, Fairlee, Fruité, Graves, Oasis, Old Orchard and Rougemont. Lassonde is the second-largest producer of store brand ready-to-drink fruit juices and drinks in the United States and a major producer of cranberry juices, drinks and sauces.
Lassonde also develops, manufactures and markets specialty food products under recognized trademarks such as Antico and Canton. The Company imports and markets selected wines from various countries of origin and manufactures apple ciders and cider-based beverages.
The Company produces superior quality products through the efforts of some 2,200 employees working in 15 production facilities across Canada and the United States.
SIG’s fully recyclable and renewable paper straw solution for aseptic carton packs is being launched for the first time in Europe by Intermarché, one of the most popular retail chains in France.
Intermarché is the first company in France to launch paper straws with aseptic carton packs. By offering this solution across its three brands – Paquito, Look and top Budget – it will save 10 tonnes of virgin plastic per year.
The company will be offering the juices and beverages of these brands in combiblocMini packs with SIG’s 6 mm straight paper straw solution – one of several options available in SIG’s paper straw portfolio. The cartons are filled at Antartic, a production unit belonging to Agromousquetaires, a food-processing subsidiary of Groupement Les Mousquetaires.
SIG was the first in the industry to offer a market-ready paper straw solution for aseptic carton packs, enabling customers to meet the urgent need for alternatives to plastic drinking straws – which will be banned across Europe from the beginning of 2021 in line with the Single-Use Plastics Directive.
SIG’s paper straws offer a more sustainable solution that is renewable and fully recyclable. They are an ideal companion for SIG’s fully recyclable carton packs, which are mainly made of renewable paper board.
The paper used to make SIG’s paper straws originates from FSCTM-certified forests and other controlled sources. The blister for the straw has also been redesigned to help prevent litter by remaining attached to the pack to be recycled together.
SIG offers both straight and U-shaped paper straws. Paper straws are available for use with SIG’s combiblocSmall or combiblocMini packs to maintain the convenience of small-size formats for consumers looking for on-the-go beverages.
The innovative structure and diagonal cut make the straw robust enough to pierce the closed straw hole of the carton. Positive results in consumer tests showed no compromises in convenience compared with conventional plastic straws. Customers can use existing straw applicators to attach them to packs.
SIG is a pioneer in the industry to offer a U-shaped paper straw to be used on carton packages. After introducing the world’s first straight paper straw for carton packaging in February 2019, SIG launches a U-shaped paper straw during Gulfood Manufacturing, together with its joint venture partner SIG Combibloc Obeikan. Gulfood Manufacturing is the world’s largest annual food and beverage technology trade exhibition. The new straw uses FSC™ certified paper and is now available globally.
The new paper straw solution supports SIG’s efforts to use more renewable materials. The paper used to produce the straight paper straw and the new U-shaped paper-straws – available with 4 and 6 mm diameter – originates from FSCTM-certified forests and other controlled sources. The wrapper for the straw has also been redesigned to remain attached to the package preventing littering and can be recycled with the carton pack.
Creating flexible packaging from virgin grade material derived from plastic waste is now taking a step towards reality in a pilot project called ChemCyclingTM
Leading global packaging and paper group Mondi, in cooperation with chemical producer BASF and COROOS, one of the biggest European companies in the preservation of fruits, vegetables and pulses for premium A-brands and private label products, have cooperated on a state-of-the-art pilot project. Together they produced a stand-up pouch that is safe for food contact partly made with raw material which was derived from chemically recycled plastic. Until now, recycling plastic has chiefly been mechanical, limiting the scope of plastics that can be recycled and limiting the number of products that can be created with recycled material, in particular for the strict legal European regulations in place for food packaging.
Mondi believes that packaging should be sustainable by design, using paper where possible, and plastic when useful. For food protection and extending shelf life, plastic is often the best choice because of its barrier properties. These requirements make it difficult to use mechanically recycled plastic due to potential impurities and plastic flaws that can occur in the layers, limiting the applicability for food contact. “BASF is working on advancing the chemical recycling of plastic waste, because this will make it possible to process and reuse plastics that are currently difficult to recycle such as mixed plastics. This prototype packaging which is based on pyrolysis oil derived from waste plastic shows that the life cycle of consumer plastics, including multilayer packaging, could become a closed loop,” explained Christoph Gahn, who is responsible for the polyamide business at BASF.
As a leader in the flexible packaging market, Mondi partnered with BASF to produce this virgin grade material into a multi-layer laminate for food packaging for COROOS private label products and their own A-brand Servero. In the manufacturing, 100 % of the fossil feedstock was replaced by pyrolysis oil derived from mixed recycled material for one of the inner layers (oriented polyamide, OPA-12 mm). In total 12 % of the packaging weight is made of ChemCycled material. The recycled material was allocated via a certified mass balance approach. Graeme Smith – Sustainability Manager for Mondi Consumer Packaging – explained more about the pilot project: “It is important to show proof of concept when establishing breakthrough developments, and for chemical recycling it is an essential part of the roadmap to commercialising this process in the future.”
Sustainable solutions are not just a priority for Mondi, but across the entire value chain: “COROOS is partnering in this project because we care about sustainability and are looking into different options to improve our footprint, e.g. by using packaging from recycled materials, packaging materials being recyclable and/or by being re-usable” shared Elke Schroevers, the Marketing Manager of COROOS. With this development, the way is paved for plastic waste to become a new resource for flexible packaging while replacing fossil fuels.
Frost & Sullivan’s latest analysis, Global Food and Beverage (F&B) Packaging Market, Forecast to 2030, reveals that the need to reduce material usage and develop more sustainable, durable and lighter-weight packaging solutions with lower production costs are key drivers supporting steady market development. Utilizing innovative packaging materials, advancing processing and additives through technological improvements and an uptick in eCommerce distribution will further augment market expansion. While revenue is expected to increase modestly, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.2 % from 2018 to 2030, unit shipment by weight is set to decrease in the short term due to a sustained drive for lighter-weight packaging.
“With rising concerns around plastic pollution and stringent government regulations, manufacturers are seeking alternatives to plastic packaging. This is resulting in an uptick in use of paper and aluminum-based packaging or other non-plastic materials such as biodegradable foods or resin,” said Christopher Shanahan, Global Director, Chemicals, Materials and Nutrition, Frost & Sullivan. “Paper and aluminum are both recycled at high rates and are seen as viable alternatives to plastic with biodegradable plastic films becoming more common as new degradable resin is adopted.”
To differentiate themselves in a well-established, highly consolidated, and competitive market, packaging material suppliers are focusing on specific products such as flexible materials, rigid plastics, and coatings for sachets and pouches. Minimizing packaging costs is a priority so there is strong competition among manufacturers to provide the most cost-effective solutions to customers, including eco-friendly, lightweight products.
“Although manufacturers have already reduced the thickness of bottles and other packaging, they are now looking toward further down gauging and design improvements to make packaging more cost-effective,” observed Shanahan. “For instance, designs such as droplet-shaped bottles have been shown to increase volumes without expanding the package weight.”
F&B vendors can make the most of key opportunities in the market by:
- Exploring environment-friendly sources of plastics, such a plastic derived from corn, or natural products such as banana leaves.
- Creating novel packaging solutions with advanced materials.
- Utilizing the same type of packaging material across several applications to reduce production and processing costs.
- Exploring emerging markets such as APAC, the Middle East, and Africa.
- Reducing material and transportation costs by decreasing the thickness of packaging materials.
Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Global Food and Beverage Packaging Market, Forecast to 2030, explores the factors and trends that have shaped the food and beverage packing landscape, the challenges that lie ahead, and the opportunities that can be tapped. The market is analyzed in terms of different packaging material segments, including flexible materials, rigid plastics, glass, metal, and other packaging materials used for containers and closures.
Together with the Paper Straw Co, BillerudKorsnäs has developed the first functional 180° U-Bend straw, made out of paper. The straw is made to be used for individual drink cartons such as juice, milk and water. The long term market potential as well as positive sustainability impact is extensive.
BillerudKorsnäs has just filed a patent of the U-Bend paper straw in cooperation with The Paper Straw Company, who will produce the straw in Manchester, England and in the US. The end-users will be consumers buying individual drink cartons filled with juice, milk or water. Made out of FibreForm, a uniquely shapable paper patented by BillerudKorsnäs, the U-Bend paper straw is durable and recyclable. The straw based on materials from sustainably sourced forests is also biodegradable, resulting in a positive impact on pollution and littering compared to plastic straws.
”The U-Bend straw is the first paper straw that is 180° bendable. It can be used together with existing drink packaging. Today many billion bendable straws are produced in a year which means that the potential for our business and our contribution to a more sustainable packaging world is, to say the least, considerable.” says Emma Hellqvist, Formable Solutions at BillerudKorsnäs.
At this moment, we are ready to go into industrial trials with the goal to be able to commercialise by the end of this year. The key to success lies in the efforts of innovation, collaboration and strong partnerships – in this case with The Paper Straw Co owned by Hoffmaster Group. Aardvark® Straws is part of Hoffmaster Group and will enable the production of the U-Bend paper straw for the US-market.
“We are excited to expand our line of paper straw offerings with the patent pending U-Bend paper straw.” Says Geert Pijper, Co-Founder The Paper Straw Co.
Company will put its paper straw innovations into the public domain to encourage industry collaboration, and will also explore bio-degradable materials
Tetra Pak has today announced that customers have started field testing its paper straws for beverage products in Europe. The move means Tetra Pak is the first carton packaging company to provide such straws for beverage cartons in the region.
The company also announced its intention to publish and share its innovations on paper straw developments to support industrial collaboration on the alternatives to single use plastic straws for beverage cartons.
Adolfo Orive, President and CEO, Tetra Pak said: “We are pleased to have developed a paper straw that is fully functional and meets internationally recognised food safety standards. This is an important step in our vision to deliver a package made entirely from plant-based packaging materials, contributing to a low-carbon circular economy.
“We have decided not to apply for patent protection on the numerous technical improvements we have made on the equipment and the materials, and instead put our innovations into the public domain. For the industry to achieve its common goal of driving towards a low-carbon circular economy, the entire supply base for paper straws must expand and grow quickly. We invite all suppliers and customers to use our knowledge and join forces with us to ramp up production as quickly as possible.”
Made from FSC™ certified paper and recyclable with the rest of the package, the new paper straw will be available initially for two small size carton packages commonly used for dairy and beverage products for children: Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Base and Tetra Brik® Aseptic 200 Base Crystal.
The field testing of the paper straw is beginning with limited volumes while the company increases production capacity at its straw plant in Lisbon, Portugal.
The company also announced that it has been assessing technical advancements and working with a number of technology leaders to explore biodegradable options, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), a polymer derived from plant-based materials which is also biodegradable.
Other sustainable drink-from development projects in Tetra Pak’s pipeline include tethered caps and integrated drink-from systems. The company has mobilised development and supply chain teams, securing extra resources to advance these priority plans.
SIG is the first in the industry to offer a market-ready alternative to plastic straws, announcing that a paper straw solution will be delivered to first customers in the first quarter of 2019.
With growing concern about the environmental impact of plastic straws, the food and beverage industry urgently needs an alternative solution. SIG’s new paper straw offers such a solution.
Nestlé is the first customer to introduce SIG’s paper straw solution and has already tested the market launch in the Dominican Republic.
Seeking a solution
SIG does not make straws, but some of its portion-size packs are designed to be used with a straw for convenience on the go and the company has been working with suppliers to develop alternatives.
Paper is renewable and recyclable. This forest-based material already makes up 70 – 80 % of SIG’s cartons on average, and the look and feel of paper also visibly reinforces its environmental credentials to consumers.
SIG worked closely with a manufacturing partner to develop an innovative and exclusive solution that makes the paper straw robust enough to pierce the closed straw hole of SIG’s aseptic cartons. The wrapper for the straw has also been redesigned to help prevent litter by remaining attached to the pack to be recycled along with the rest of the carton.
The new paper straws will be made of paperboard from FSCTM (Forest Stewardship CouncilTM)-certified forests or other controlled sources. Customers can already include the FSC label on any SIG carton and they will be able to add the label to the paper straws once the manufacturing partner has completed FSC Chain-of-Custody certification, which is expected during the second half of 2019.
The new paper straw solution supports SIG’s efforts to use more renewable materials. The initial volume of paper straws will be limited during the launch phase, as SIG ramps up capacity with its manufacturing partner. SIG is also continuing to invest in new ways to apply this alternative straw solution to a wider variety of packaging formats.