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UCLA study highlights Smart Cups' revolutionary technology reducing environmental impact of liquid consumer products
More Delivered, Less Trucks Needed! Smart Cups’ efficient technology means fewer transportation vehicles needed with greater volume of products delivered. (Photo: Smart Cups)

Smart Cups, a pioneering sustainability-driven technology company behind innovative ingredient printing announced the publication of a new research study in the esteemed journal Resource, Conservation & Recycling. The study, titled “Reducing life cycle material, energy and emissions for liquid consumer products through printing,” conducted by UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and authored by Professor Deepak Rajagopal, has brought to light the remarkable potential of Smart Cups Technology in transforming the consumer-packaged goods industry and contributing to a greener future.

“The technology that Smart Cups has pioneered has the potential to drastically reduce the environmental burden of beverages and several other liquid products through a reduction in total packaging and transportation across the product lifecycle,” said Professor Deepak Rajagopal. “The implications of this research extend beyond the consumer-packaged goods industry. Major companies, including industry giants like Pepsi, Coke, and Proctor and Gamble, could benefit from Smart Cups’ ground-breaking approach to delivering products more sustainably. Embracing this innovation can help such large corporations achieve sustainability goals and become leaders in eco-friendly practices”.

The study focuses on the profound environmental benefits of Smart Cups Technology which enables direct printing of consumer product ingredients onto surfaces, leading to substantial reductions in packaging materials, energy consumption, carbon emissions and overall environmental burdens. The study unveils the far-reaching implications for not just the beverage industry, but also the consumer-packaged goods industry as whole, promising to revolutionise distribution logistics and minimise environmental impact.

Key highlights from the study include:

  • The study’s findings show that a single Class 6 or 7 beverage truck packed with Smart Cups can accommodate a staggering 21 times more beverage volume than PET bottles and 31 times than glass bottles.
  • Smart Cups printed on PLA cups, when paired with tap water, result in 20 % less packaging materials than aluminum, 40 % less than plastic, and an impressive 90 % less than glass-based packaging.
  • This reduction in packaging translates into a 23 % to 48 % decrease in lifecycle primary energy and a 40 % to 57 % decrease in global warming potential. With biogenic carbon credit for landfilled PLA, the reductions reach an impressive 50 % to 70 %.

Smart Cups Technology is the first of its kind, revolutionising the delivery of liquid consumer products and minimising their environmental impact. This research not only amplifies the positive impact Smart Cups Technology can have on the world but also strengthens the validation of its significant benefits by reshaping the consumer products industry. By eliminating the need for bulky packaging materials, such as PET bottles or glass containers, Smart Cups optimise beverage payload, allowing for substantially higher volumes to be transported within the same truck weight limits. This breakthrough not only enhances logistical efficiency but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation, as fewer trucks are required to transport the same amount of beverage.

The implications of this research extend far beyond the immediate benefits of increased payload capacity. By revolutionizing beverage transportation, Smart Cups are poised to transform the entire industry landscape, introducing a new era of sustainability and efficiency. With the potential to streamline distribution networks and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, Smart Cups offer a visionary solution to the pressing environmental challenges faced by the beverage sector.

The UCLA study underscores the profound impact of Smart Cups on beverage transportation, highlighting the unparalleled payload capacity that this innovative packaging technology provides. As industry leaders and consumers alike seek more sustainable and efficient solutions, Smart Cups stands at the forefront of a transformative movement. The researchers at UCLA are confident that their findings will inspire further exploration and adoption of Smart Cups within the beverage industry, ultimately leading to a greener, more efficient future.

To access the full article and learn more about the study, please visit: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0921344923001866?dgcid=author

The UK’s favourite squash is launching a new packaging concept, Robinsons Ecopack – a highly concentrated squash in a plant-based carton. The Britvic brand continues to create innovative products that offer consumers more squash, with less plastic.

Launching exclusively in selected Tesco stores across the nation, the Robinsons Ecopack boasts a super concentrated liquid that contains 60 serves per 500 ml carton and is made from 89 % plant-based material. Robinsons’ new packaging innovation aims to reduce packaging waste with 85 % less plastic per serve, compared to a one litre bottle of Robinsons Double Concentrate. With a higher squash concentration compared to its single or double concentrate drinks, the carton is the equivalent of three single concentrate bottles and results in significantly less packaging per serve.

Fiona Graham, Innovation lead for Robinsons, said: “As a brand, Robinsons is continuously innovating and is committed to improving the environmental impact we have. Squash is already a sustainable product due to its concentrated format. Making Robinsons available in this new format allows consumers to feel confident in the knowledge that the pack they’ve chosen has more serves, but used less packaging per serve, and can be recycled once finished. All packaging types have their own unique benefits and challenges, and we know there is currently no one ‘silver bullet.’ That said, we believe that continuing to innovate with products such as Robinsons Ecopack will bring us one step closer to a solution and provide consumers with a range of options. The brand-new Robinsons Ecopack carton will be available via Tesco to begin with, and we are excited to learn what consumers think about the new format.”

Martin Shaw, Market Unit Manager at Elopak UK & Ireland, said: “We’re happy that Robinsons have chosen our Pure-Pak carton for their super strength squash product. Our renewable and recyclable carton packaging makes a great match with their products.”

The launch marks the latest activity for the brand, following a radical rebrand earlier this year and the launch of its new £4 million marketing campaign Get Thirsty. Robinsons Ecopack is one element of Britvic’s positive packaging strategy which seeks to reduce the need for unnecessary plastic, and make sure packaging doesn’t become waste.

Since 2017, Britvic has reduced the amount of virgin plastic it uses by more than 4,000 tonnes through packaging redesign, and it continues to increase the amount of recycled packaging and sustainably sourced materials it uses across its portfolio.

Last year, the company launched the Aqua Libra Flavour Tap – a sleek tap that reduces packaging waste by 99 %. The launch followed London Essence launching the Freshly Infused fount – offering premium tonic on dispense in 1,200 outlets across the UK and cutting packaging by 96 % when compared with traditionally packaged tonic water.

Seed-round, led by iAngels, will propel production and technology to reduce sugars in fruit juice

Better Juice, Ltd., the first company to reduce all sugars from natural juices, announces it has raised US$8M in seed-round investment. This new influx of support was led by iAngels, Israel and includes investors: Maverick Ventures, Israel; Food Tech Lab TFTL, Spain; The Kitchen Hub, Israel, as part of the Strauss Group and IIA; NEOME, Israel; Schestowitz Group, Israel; and Semillero, Puerto Rico.

The start-up’s enzymatic technology uses all-natural ingredients to convert fructose, glucose, and sucrose into prebiotic dietary fibers and other non-digestible molecules. Reducing up to 80 % of all sugars, Better Juice’s non-GMO technology is designed to target orange juice’s specific sugar composition to naturally create a low-calorie, reduced-sugar product with a delicate sweetness. Better Juice opened a pilot plant in January 2021, an important milestone in the startup’s commercial scale-up timeline.

Better Juice will use the investment to build its first full-scale manufacturing plant in Israel to serve the growing demand. The high-tech plant will increase production capacity by 40-fold while generating up to US$50M sales annually. The company will use the funds to expand the sales and marketing teams to support its commercialization stage.

“We are excited to complete this investment round with the support of leading venture capital and CPG companies from around the globe,” says Eran Blachinsky, PhD, founder and CEO of Better Juice. “This investment will enable us to accelerate our growth and expand into other product lines, such as ice cream, soft drinks, and jam.”

About Better Juice
Better Juice was founded in 2018 by Eran Blachinsky, PhD, in collaboration with the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The company was incubated in The Kitchen Hub – Strauss Group’s foodtech and IIA incubator, and received early funding from Maverick Ventures, Israel and other global partners.

Downgauging innovations yield thinner, more sustainable BIB films

One word, more than any other, is guiding Bag-in-Box (BIB) film purchasing decisions today: sustainability. Whether for wine, fruit juice or dairy products, the people in the buyer center – product and packaging managers, technical engineers and purchasing agents – are tasked with finding sustainable packaging solutions.

Fortunately for them, the Mondi Styria plant in Austria, has racked up more than 60 years of experience as market leader and technology innovator. When it comes to multilayer technical films that are thinner, lighter and more sustainable – and do not sacrifice any performance properties – the Mondi experts are always extending the boundaries of technological advancement. Now, they are launching a pair of next-generation films developed for multilayer BIB products used to package liquid food products and more.

Introducing … Styria Form Bar 50

“We have now determined it is possible to replace the usual 66- or 70-micron polyethylene film with a 50-micron film, and we are the first company to be able to offer such a product,” explains Günter Leitner, Managing Director at Mondi Styria. “Downgauging in this manner results in the use of about 25 % less material while also reducing transport weight and hence the overall carbon footprint.”

A current customer is already running trials of this new product, and says it has experienced no negative impact on machine performance and that no equipment changes have been needed to successfully run the film, Leitner notes.

… and Styria Form Bar 90 DW

Separately, Mondi now has also found a way to combine what is the industry-standard, two-ply film comprising a 70-micron polyethylene layer plus a 40-micron barrier layer into a mono-layer film that measures only 90 microns thick –– a reduction of nearly 20 %. Currently, Mondi provides its 70-micron film to customers who combine it with a barrier layer provided by another supplier to get the desired end result.

“Mondi, once again, is the first and only supplier of technical BIB films able to offer this type of mono-layer product,” says Leitner. “Since this thinner film also yields more running metres per reel this leads to enhanced efficiency and productivity for our customers.”

In addition to the previously noted sustainability advantages, this latest innovation greatly simplifies matters for customers, eliminating a step from the converting process, and allowing users to buy and store only one type of film instead of two.

Customers also will benefit from reduced machine setup time due to having to change out only two reels instead of four, and having to change two reels less frequently. All of this translates into greater productivity for the converter.

Additionally, both new films are suitable for both hot-fill (up to 85 ºC) and cold-fill applications, again offering increased convenience and flexibility to the users.