News & Updates Sustainability

Ocado overhauls own label packaging with JKR has revamped its own label range, claiming the move has reduced 27 tonnes of plastic and removed 9 million “non-essential packaging components”.

The online grocery retailer has linked up with design agency JKR to create the new range, which also features updated artwork. The own label range comprises over 530 products including coffee, berries, salad and tinned goods. New additions include Moroccan Inspired Houmous, Cheese & Chive Dip and Chimichurri British Flat Iron Steak.

According to Ocado, 27 tonnes less plastic packaging has been used, 640,000 plastic nets have been taken away and at least 9 million non-essential packaging components have been removed. As part of its commitment to the UK Plastics Pack, the retailer has eliminated PVC, polystyrene and black plastics from all own-range packaging and it is Ocado’s target is for all items to be 100% recyclable and made from at least 30% recycled materials by 2025.

Rachel Cox Reynolds, head of own-range and technical compliance said: “We have been busy working on a new look and feel to the Ocado own-range for some time now and are delighted to be able to share the final results. Each and every one of our own-range items has received a fresh makeover featuring brighter colours and bolder patterns, just in time for the Spring.

“These products, with their updated imagery, continue to demonstrate the great quality that Ocado customers have come to expect, whilst also offering superb value for money for our customers.”

Laura Harricks, chief customer officer at Ocado Retail added: “It’s so important to us that we are able to delight customers through our range, value and convenience but we also recognise the importance of ensuring that our impact on people, animals and the environment is positive and sustainable in the long term.

“We’re delighted that the refreshed collection has given us the opportunity to improve the sustainability-credentials of our own-range packaging whilst maintaining high quality and great prices. We are proud of the steps forward we’ve made here – the bright, bold packaging is just the icing on the cake.”


News & Updates Sustainability

PB Creative redesigns Thornton & Ross brand Zoflora

Popular, versatile household product Zoflora has been redesigned for the ‘Instagram generation’

Zoflora has a loyal customer base and has passed through the generations. However, with “a new generation of Instagram-loving Zoflora fans and proliferation of ‘me-too’ products entering the market”, Thonton & Ross decided it was time to revisit the brand’s range design and cement Zoflora as the market leader in the category.

The UK manufactured, leading disinfectant brand has been helping UK households stay safe from germs for almost 100 years.  Its range of beautifully fragranced, perfumer developed, concentrated disinfectants is inspired by nature and represents the perfect partner for a hygienically clean home.

PB Creative was briefed to create a contemporary and desirable look and feel for the brand that was more appealing and relevant to new consumers, with increased stand out on shelf, but without alienating the brand’s existing and very loyal users. PB also sought to celebrate the abundance and explosion of ingredients within the products and champion the fragrance story of each variant, whilst still communicating the efficacious nature of the brand.

“This project has given us a great opportunity to upgrade and enhance the Zoflora brand,” said Agata Racka, design director at PB Creative.

“We knew that the new designs would need to entice and resonate with all Zoflora consumers, both old and new. It was key that we kept existing consumers at the heart of the brand, whilst leveraging appeal and excitement for new ones.”

“With a unique and diverse range of ingredients, it was clear that we needed to develop a strong design system that was robust enough to work across a large number of fragrance variants, while giving us the scope to communicate a distinct product story that was easy to understand. The addition of the tag line,  ‘A little goes a long way,’ helps to clarify the formulation’s efficacious and concentrated nature.”

“By refreshing the Zoflora colour palette and enhancing the fragrance story (which wasn’t coming through as a USP previously), we’ve created a bold, fresh new range design that retains the brand’s uplifting personality, but now makes it more relevant and appealing to a new generation of Zoflora devotees. Our main challenge was to remain distinct and unique in an ever-growing category increasingly populated by copy-cat brands.”

Sarah Fozzard, head of marketing, Home Hygiene, Thornton & Ross added: “PB’s new range design for Zoflora delivers instant fragrance impact and product clarity – not an easy task for such a complex brand. The team has succeeded in modernising Zoflora without losing its distinctive character and whilst striking the difficult balance between fragrance and efficacy which we knew would be key to the success of the redesign. This new contemporary classic aesthetic will allow Zoflora to continue to lead in the category and to communicate clearly with a new generation of Zoflora consumers.”

“Now more than ever, we’re keen to highlight Zoflora as a brand that can help keep us protected as we go through these unprecedented times.  Zoflora offers consumers an opportunity to create not only a hygienic, but also a welcoming space where they can all feel safe and comfortable.”

The new range design is being rolled out across 120ml, 250ml and 500ml formats this month and will launch across other markets throughout 2021.


News & Updates

Beefeater turns to Boundless for new flavoured gin packs

Beefeater is relaunching its flavoured gins series with new packaging from Boundless Brand Design.

The existing Pink Strawberry and Blood Orange flavours have been relaunched alongside a new Peach & Raspberry product.

Beefeater wanted to reinforce its current contemporary design cues, whilst visually building on the bright and bold variants within its colourful range. Boundless said that the new design feature modernised elements such as intricate botanical illustrations, printed and embossed on a new recyclable paper label.

Hamish Shand, founder and creative director at Boundless said: “This Beefeater re-launch is the latest in a series of exciting packaging innovations. We employed high level craftsmanship to showcase the authenticity of the range, giving a solid foundation to build a more contemporary and authentic product story that truly reflects the fantastic quality of the liquid inside. Delivering against evolving consumer needs, this proposition now has increased standout, strongly showcasing naturality and refreshment.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Biodegradable’ plastic will soon be banned in Australia. That’s a big win for the environment

To start dealing with Australia’s mounting plastic crisis, the federal government recently launched its first National Plastics Plan. The plan will fight plastic on various fronts, such as banning plastic on beaches, ending polystyrene packaging for takeaway containers, and phasing in microplastic filters in washing machines.

But we’re particularly pleased to see a main form of biodegradable plastic will also be phased out.

Biodegradable plastic promises a plastic that breaks down into natural components when it’s no longer wanted for its original purpose. The idea of a plastic that literally disappears once in the ocean, littered on land or in landfill is tantalising — but also (at this stage) a pipe dream.

Why ‘biodegradable plastics’ ain’t that great

“Biodegradable” suggests an item is made from plant-based materials. But this isn’t always the case.

A major problem with “biodegradable” plastic is the lack of regulations or standards around how the term should be used. This means it could, and is, being used to refer to all manner of things, many of which aren’t great for the environment.

Many plastics labelled biodegradable are actually traditional fossil-fuel plastics that are simply degradable (as all plastic is) or even “oxo-degradable” — where chemical additives make the fossil-fuel plastic fragment into microplastics. The fragments are usually so small they’re invisible to the naked eye, but still exist in our landfills, water ways and soils.

The National Plastics Plan aims to work with industry to phase out this problematic “fragmentable” plastic by July, 2022.

Some biodegradable plastics are made from plant-based materials. But it’s often unknown what type of environment they’ll break down in and how long that would take.

Those items may end up existing for decades, if not centuries, in landfill, litter or ocean as many plant-based plastics actually don’t break down any quicker than traditional plastics. This is because not all plant-based plastics are necessarily compostable, as the way some plant-based polymers form can make them incredibly durable.

So it’s best to avoid all plastic labelled as biodegradable. Even after the ban eliminates fragmentation — the worst of these — there’s still no evidence remaining types of biodegradable plastics are better for the environment.

Compostable plastics aren’t much better

Compostable plastic is another label you may have come across that’s meant to be better for the environment. It’s specifically designed to break down into natural, non-toxic components in certain conditions.

Unlike biodegradable plastics, there are certification standards for compostable plastics, so it’s important to check for one the below labels. If an item doesn’t have a certification label, there’s nothing to say it isn’t some form of mislabelled “biodegradable” plastic.

But most certified compostable plastics are only for industrial composts, which reach very high temperatures. This means they’re unlikely to break down sufficiently in home composts. Even those certified as “home compostable” are assessed under perfect lab conditions, which aren’t easily achieved in the backyard.

And while certified compostable plastics are increasing, the number of industrial composting facilities that actually accept them isn’t yet keeping up.

Nor are collection systems to get your plastics to these facilities. The vast majority of kerbside organics recycling bins don’t currently accept compostable plastics and other packaging. This means placing compostable plastics in these bins is considered contamination.

Even if you can get your certified compostable plastics to an appropriate facility, composting plastics actually reduces their economic value as they can no longer be used in packaging and products. Instead, they’re only valuable for returning nutrients to soil and, potentially, capturing a fraction of the energy used to produce them.

Finally, if you don’t have an appropriate collection system and your compostable plastic ends up in landfill, that might actually be worse than traditional plastic. Compostable plastics could release methane — a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide — in landfill, in the same way food waste does.

So, you should only consider compostable plastics when you have a facility that will take them, and a way to get them there.

And while the National Plastics Plan and National Packaging Targets are aiming for at least 70% of plastics to be recovered by 2025 (including through composting), nothing yet has been said about how collection systems will be supported to achieve this.

Is recycling helpful?

Only an estimated 9% of plastics worldwide (and 18% in Australia) are actually recycled. The majority ends up in landfill, and can leak intoour oceans and natural environments.

In Australia, systems for recycling the most common types of plastic packaging are well established and in many cases operate adequately. However, there are still major issues.

For example, many plastic items can’t be recycled in our kerbside bins (including soft and flexible plastics such as bags and cling films, and small items like bottle lids, plastic cutlery and straws). Placing these items in your kerbside recycling bin can contaminate other recycling and even damage sorting machines.

What’s more, much of the plastic collected for recycling doesn’t have high value “end markets”. Only two types of plastic — PET (think water or soft drink bottles and some detergent containers) and HDPE (milk bottles, shampoo/conditioner/detergent containers) — are easily turned back into new plastic containers.

The rest end up in a stream called “mixed plastics”, much of which we have traditionally exported overseas for recycling due to low demand here. The new waste export ban may help fix this in the future.

So what do you do about plastic?

The obvious answer then, is to eliminate problematic plastic altogether, as the National Plastics Plan is attempting to do, and replace single-use plastics with reusable alternatives.

Little actions such as bringing your reusable water bottle, coffee cup and cutlery, can add up to big changes, if adequately supported by businesses and government to create a widespread culture shift. So too, could a swing away from insidious coffee capsules, cling wrap and cotton buds so many of us depend on.

Opting too, for plastic items made from recycled materials can make a big impact on the feasibility of plastic recycling.


News & Updates Sustainability

Greiner helps Tesco add ‘snap’ back to PP yoghurt tubs

Over the past two years, following requests from retailers, Greiner Packaging has replaced yoghurt multi-packs made from polystyrene (PS) with polypropylene (PP), and ‘Project Snap’ has now successfully recreated the ‘snap’ which consumers love.

Yoghurt multi-packs have traditionally been made from polystyrene (PS), but there is currently no PS recycling stream in some territories, leading supermarkets to focus on removing all PS products.

Seeking to deliver a sustainable alternative, in February 2018 Greiner Packaging’s factory in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, began trials using polypropylene (PP), and says it was the first in the UK to recreate a functional multi-pack in PP.

One of the advantages of PS was its ability to deliver an effective ‘break’ which was initially difficult to achieve with PP. Leading UK retailer Tesco was one of the first customers to move from PS multi-packs to PP multi-packs, but consumers were disappointed that packs made from the new material did not ‘snap’ in the same way as the previous PS packs.

In July 2020, Greiner Packaging began ‘Project Snap’ to develop and improve PP multi-pack breakability. By October 2020, the first successful filling trials of the latest PP 4-pack had begun, and the new improved yoghurt 100g 4-packs are now on-shelf.

Multi-pack development from PS to PP has reportedly taken considerable investment, but has been achieved faster than originally expected, with ‘Project Snap’ delivering the final part of the story.

“Over the past two and a half years, Greiner Packaging Dungannon has invested heavily in delivering these multi-packs made from PP and then further engineering to give the same satisfying ‘snap’ as their predecessors,” says Greiner Packaging UK & Ireland CEO Philip Woolsey

“The next step, for PP yoghurt multi-packs will be to manufacture them using recycled PP,” Woolsey concludes. “Mechanically recycled PP can currently only be used for non-food packaging, however food approval is now in preparation. Chemically recycled PP is suitable for food contact, but not readily available as there are no large-scale recycling streams for PP.

“Greiner Packaging is currently involved in a project that aims to obtain food approval for r-PP from mechanical recycling. Ultimately, we will have succeeded in helping retailers move to using a material that genuinely delivers on our circular economy commitments, while still keep the fun element in place for consumers.”


News & Updates

New secondary packaging based on barley surplus unveiled by Corona

Corona has revealed a new project that harnesses surplus barley straw to create a new paper secondary packaging solution.

Corona is the first global brand to leverage the technology and processes that have been developed over the last three years by AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Centre (GITEC). This technology reimagines the use of barley, giving the essential beer ingredient new life as a packaging solution.

Barley straw, a leftover from farmers’ harvests, will now be used through a unique pulping process built to handle its relative fragility. Combined with 100% recycled wood fibres, this process creates a paper board to produce new packaging that is reportedly as strong and durable as a regular six-pack.

According to the company, turning barley straw into paper fibre uses 90% less water in its production than the traditional virgin wood process, along with less energy and fewer harsh chemicals.

Corona also says that using leftover barley straw is more productive than the equivalent area of woodland, and the company sees this as one path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from their supply chain in the future.

Upon completion of the pilot, AB InBev, Corona’s parent company, will review rolling out the technology to its other brands, which include Budweiser and Stella Artois.

Keenan Thompson, director of packaging innovation at AB InBev, said: “We’re excited to finally launch this new packaging innovation we’ve been developing over the past three years. At AB InBev we are continually pushing boundaries by developing scalable solutions. Today is a proud moment for us, not only are we providing an opportunity for farmers but we’re also delivering a more mindful solution to the consumer.”

The new packaging will launch today with an initial 10,000 six-packs rolling out as a pilot in Colombia in March, followed by Argentina later in 2021 as Corona looks to scale the new solution globally.


News & Updates

Evian launches its first ever sparkling drinks in cans

Evian has unveiled Evian+ flavoured sparkling drinks packaged in recyclable aluminium cans – a first for the brand. 

The water giant said the move ‘demonstrates ongoing innovation’ as the brand expands its product portfolio into two new product categories with the launch of functional sparkling and flavoured.

Shweta Harit, VP of marketing at Evian, said: “Encouraging our consumers to be healthy and perform at their highest level is at the heart of all that we do at Evian, so we’re excited to be able to action this in a new and appetizing way. The introduction of a sparkling flavoured functional water reflects the importance of adapting to consumer habits. We are delivering the pure taste of evian natural mineral water in a new and fun way, as we continue to act and support a generation who seek to become the best version of their true selves.”


News & Updates

Vetroplas supplies metal packs for George Northwood

Vetroplas has supplied aluminium packaging for hairdresser George Northwood’s home haircare products range UNDONE.

Working in partnership with Envases, Vetroplas created the packaging using 250ml and 500ml aluminium bottles with a clean and contemporary ‘premium’ look.

Multi-coloured offset direct printing onto the bottle, over a white base coat covered with soft touch varnish, allows clear communication of straightforward propositions which cut through a crowded and confusing market.

Fiona Wilson, chief executive of George Northwood, said: “We are delighted with the finish of

our packaging from Vetroplas. We are one of the first brands to launch a full range of haircare

into the mass market using aluminium. The print execution supports our commitment to

sustainability in a unique and eye-catching way.”


News & Updates

The Famous Grouse launches limited-edition rugby bottles

The Famous Grouse whisky brand has launched a limited-edition label to celebrate the brand’s role as the official sponsor of The British & Irish Lions.

The one-off design sees the iconic label of The Famous Grouse transformed to read ‘The Famous British & Irish Lions’.

Sold exclusively at Tesco from today, the bottle will be available in three variations (35cl, 70cl and 1L) before being distributed to additional retailers and the on-trade from April.

It also forms part of The Famous Grouse The Spirit of Rugby campaign, following the announcement that The Famous Grouse will also be the Official Partner of Premiership Rugby, SA Rugby, and Glasgow Warriors.

Chris Anderson, Head of Edrington Brands, said: “The Famous Grouse has been investing in the sport of rugby for 30 years, and we are very proud to reaffirm our commitment to this great game with the launch of this limited-edition bottle. On sale throughout the British and Irish Lions tour the bottle will enable us to celebrate the pride and camaraderie we see on the rugby pitch every matchday.”