A new recyclable vegetable packaging made of Paptic® material has been awarded a ScanStar in a Nordic packaging design competition organised by the Scandinavian Packaging Association.
The awarded packaging solution for Puukin Tila was developed to replace plastic in vegetable packaging end-use. It is a soft and durable pouch, enhancing the brand value, expanding the current sustainable packaging window and in addition, the vegetables stay fresh longer. The Paptic® material is cellulose-based, recyclable, moisture resistant, and well convertable with the existing package production lines.
The competition entry package was invented when Paptic Ltd and Marvaco Ltd joined forces to respond to a call from Puukin Tila to replace plastic in onion packaging. Paptic®, fiber-based material, and Marvaco Expanded Gamut Printing with Flint Group C2C inks made the new, truly sustainable vegetable packaging possible. In the optimized packaging, all sustainability aspects were considered, including the substrate, design, printing, and inks.
The competition jury valued that there is potential to use this solution in other packaging applications than only in vegetable packaging. It has good printability and replaces plastic in packaging.
The awarded solution was developed to keep the products fresh for longer and to minimize packaging waste
Paptic® is a wood-fiber based substrate to replace plastics in packaging. The lightweight material is soft, with excellent puncture and tear resistance and heat sealability properties. Katja Jokiaho, Head of Sales from Paptic, clarifies: “Many products are overpackaged because there are no alternatives to plastic-based solutions. Various products benefit from being packed in breathable materials.”
Sustainability was taken into notice also in the packaging layout design. “Our aim was to create a simple, sustainable design for onions by reducing ink consumption and the number of colours used in printing”, explains Mirva Koskinen, Brand Sales Manager at Marvaco. We minimized the number of inks to only three colours, but still, the colorful design was possible due to the process of printing. With Flint Group’s water-based ink offering, we were able to eliminate the use of heavy metals and minimize waste. The Cradle-to-Cradle Gold-status certified inks offer industrial compostability. Despite the environmentally wiser choices, the desired colourful design was achieved.
Petri Puukki, the owner of Puukin Tila, is satisfied with the results: “We wanted to make a difference and pack our locally produced onions in a sustainable way. The material selection keeps the onions fresh for longer and the new packaging also looks fresh!” The project was completed in just a few months.
Asda is set to remove ‘best before’ dates from the packaging of almost 250 of its fresh fruit and vegetable products across UK stores, replacing them with a display code used by employees to gauge a product’s freshness.
A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by the Nova Institute has reportedly concluded that the use of Avantium’s plant-based PEF (polyethylene furanoate) in 250ml and 500ml bottles would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Nova’s study, supposedly peer-reviewed by experts of LCA methodology and incumbent packaging solutions, evaluated sixteen impact categories covering the cradle-to-grave life cycle of a PEF bottle. The results suggest that its production would lower the resource consumption of fossil fuels by 45%, and that the light-weighting made possibleby PEF’s mechanical properties would reduce the pressure on abiotic resources (such as minerals and metals) by 47%.
PEF is also suited to multilayer packaging, the LCA claims. Its ‘passive barrier for O2 and CO2’ is said to increase products’ shelf life and reduce the amount of protective packaging required, lowering wastage in both product and packaging.
Another segment of the LCA apparently proved that replacing the PA layer of multilayer bottles with PEF could result in a 37% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, largely because the former would result in recyclable packaging. Making the replacement would also reduce the resource demand of fossil fuels by 37% and minerals and metals by 52%, Nova claims.about:blank
Reportedly, the commercialisation and growth of the PEF market would result in ‘substantial economic, technological, and environmental optimisations covering the full value chain’. It also suggests that replacing plant-based feedstock with second-generation biomass and other lignocellulosic feedstocks would be beneficial in this event. On the other hand, it is argued that PET bottles are more efficient with regard to feedstock supply.
Unilever’s homecare brand Domestos has re-launched its core bleach range in new bottles made from 50% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR).
The brand has moved its UK 750ml bleach range to use recycled plastic, which it says will save 1,505 tonnes of virgin plastic per year. According to Unilever, the new Domestos bottles use high-quality recycled resin to ensure the bottle is strong and durable, while also enabling the incorporation of recycled plastic into the coloured bottles without compromising on the distinct colour and quality of the packaging.
With plastic waste a top environmental concern for shoppers, Domestos is communicating the move with new front-of-pack labelling. In addition, all the bottles include an On-Pack Recycling Label (ORPL) ‘Cap On Recycle’ logo to support more consumers to recycle them.
Claire Racklyeft, Home & Hygiene category lead at Unilever UK&I, comments: “Our Domestos bleach bottles are already recyclable, but incorporating recycled plastic into a bottle made for bleach has been challenging.
“It was important that we maintained the distinct look and feel of our bottles, so our packaging and factory teams have worked very closely with our suppliers and partners to ensure consistency of material and bottle quality.
“Fully recyclable and now incorporating post-consumer recycled plastic, our Domestos bleach bottles are helping to keep plastic in packaging – where it is valuable – and out of the environment. We believe this is a first for bleach bottles in the UK, so it’s a great innovation and one we’re very proud of. We’re already working towards bottles made with 100% recycled plastic.”
The move by Domestos is part of Unilever’s wider global packaging commitment, which includes the aims of halving the company’s use of virgin plastic by reducing its absolute use of plastic packaging by more than 100,000 tonnes by 2025.
Could This Food Sensor Replace ‘Best By’ Date Codes?
Low-cost sensors from PragmatIC promise accurate, consumer-readable expiration information for packaged foods via a smartphone app.
To determine whether a food is safe to eat or not, consumers usually turn to printed or labeled “Best By” or “Use Before” date codes, which are unprecise if not unreliable.
There must be a smarter way. Thanks to advances in technology, there is: science-based, data-backed sensors engineered and customized to a specific packaged food.
Helping lead brands, retailers, and consumers into a bold new era of increased food safety and reduced food waste is PragmatIC Semiconductor, an innovator of ultra, low-cost flexible integrated electronics that enable connected intelligence in everyday items.
Based in the UK and with partners and customers around the world, including North America, the company believes the technology can make a real difference in helping brands and consumers reduce food waste, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a 2021 EPA study, in the US alone, yearly food loss and waste totals 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent equal to the annual carbon emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants.
Joshua Young, PragmatIC’s circular economy lead, provides details in this interview.
What’s the basic proposition?
Young: We use our technology to improve the world around us by enabling a new approach to electronics that makes it viable for any object to become smart and connected.
Food waste is a huge problem, with more than a third of the food produced for human consumption wasted, a large portion of which is at retail or at home.
By adding our technology to food packaging, it could be possible to measure conditions such as temperature or humidity to dynamically determine the product status — giving retailers and consumers the confidence to extend product use.
Comment on how the technology is used for packaged food. Young: By adding measurement intellectual property (IP) to our existing near-field communication (NFC) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies, we can integrate various sensors and wirelessly transfer measurement data to a reader in real-time.
When placed inside of the food packaging you can measure the environmental conditions, which tells you a lot about the product itself. This data can then be compared to a wider data set/model for the specific product and analysed to determine a dynamic use by date.
Image courtesy of PragmaticIC Semiconductor
Please describe the sensor. Young: PragmatIC’s flexible integrated circuits (ICs or chips) are known as FlexICs and are thinner than a human hair. We work with partners to integrate this technology into a label with the antenna and sensor.
The FlexIC is incorporated into an inlay/tag that’s embedded into or behind a packaging label.
Our FlexICs are highly flexible and robust —they are not damaged during packaging or labelling.
What does it replace or improve upon? Young: Historically, use-by and best-before dates have been hugely conservative. They are usually based off the date a product was harvested or produced. Many retailers are completely removing best before or use by dates on certain products to help tackle food waste, however this isn’t feasible for all products. There must be a smarter way.
How does it benefit brand owners and retailers? Young: All retailers discount products that are reaching their use by date to maximise profitability and minimise operational overheads. By being better informed of the quality and life of products, retailers can maintain prices for longer, sell a percentage of product and therefore reduce waste.
How does it benefit consumers? Young: Consumers can confidently know if a food product is safe to eat, extending its potential use rather than being wasted. It is also possible for consumers to access recipe ideas or find out more about ingredients.
With increased automation coming to the retail experience, you can imagine how Electronic Shelf Labels could be used to automatically adjust pricing based on the products’ condition.
“Our focus has been on fresh meat products such as pork or chicken because there is significant opportunity to reduce waste.”
What foods does it work with? Young: Our focus has been on fresh meat products such as pork or chicken because there is significant opportunity to reduce waste. You can imagine it is unrealistic to remove use-by dates altogether. With the value and cost of products also being higher, there is a clearer case for adopting digital technologies. We expect the scope of products to expand as we integrate with other types of sensors and the data models are generated. How is the sensor customized to the specific product?
Young: We know that throughout product life certain changes in environmental properties can be corelated to the freshness and degradation of the product. These properties are measured on an item-level at the point the packaging is sealed, through the supply-chain and in the retail store. What’s required for a brand owner to use it? Young: Most retailers already used ruggedised handheld barcode readers that are NFC enabled. They would require access to the software platform and apply the labels to their products.
“What makes our technology different is a significantly lower price point, lower carbon footprint to manufacture, and flexible form factor.”
How much does it cost or what’s the business case justification? Young: Although similar capabilities have previously been possible, we tip the business case to make it viable to add to every package and are targeting just a few pennnies. What makes our technology different is a significantly lower price point, lower carbon footprint to manufacture, and flexible form factor.
What’s the commercial status? We are currently working in a UKRI funded project called SecQuAL (Secure Quality Assured Logistics for Digital Food Ecosystems), a two-year project where we are working closely with leading UK suppliers and retailers to test and demonstrate the technology across different products and use cases. The future is exciting, and we are accelerating our work towards initial deployments in 2023.
Comment on your work with BlakBear that we detailed in a 2020 feature. Young: Our partnership with Blakbear continues to grow and we are working with them in the SecQuAL project. We are integrating with their low-cost sensors and leveraging their expertise and data models.
Budweiser has launched a limited edition can to commemorate England’s win in Euro 2022.
The ‘Home’ 440ml has been rebranded to celebrate the Lionesses’ victory in the tournament. Budweiser’s red can has been reimagined to celebrate the England flag in red and white, with the three lions taking centre stage. The brand’s creed, running across the top of the can, has also been updated as an ode to the England squad.
Jack Morris, senior brand manager at Budweiser said: “We couldn’t be prouder to be a long-term partner of the England team, and it’s incredible to see the inspiration they have given to women and girls across the nation. We’re continuing the celebrations with our limited edition ‘Home’ can, inviting fans to savour the taste of victory.”
Paper maker James Cropper has supplied its FibreBlend Upcycled technology for Japanese beauty brand Shiseido.
Outer packaging for the skincare product Ulé has been created with James Cropper’s Rydal range, a white board made with 100% recycled fibres. The outer packaging includes black text printed on a nude matte background, while thin vertical lines have been created via debossing on the surface of the folding cartons, combined with embossing at the centre of the facing. Ulé also eliminated leaflets and inner carton components from its secondary packaging.
Tricia Hartmann, global packaging lead at James Cropper, said: “The strongest trends in the packaging industry, not just in the cosmetics and beauty industry, but across the board, is around the circular economy. This has been driven by growing awareness of the waste issue that continues to exist and consumer perception regarding packaging.
“When it comes to the beauty industry, brands are recognising that eco-friendly doesn’t compromise experience and as packaging experts, we can demonstrate that new, imaginative methods of packaging materials and concepts exist and can help them to deliver on their promise of greener approaches.
“As demand for recyclable materials in packaging grows, natural materials are increasingly replacing plastics, and that’s exactly what Shiseido has done; we’re helping them to strengthen their environmentally-friendly credentials.”
Bristol-based design studio Outlaw has recently revamped plant-based snacking brand packs from Eat Real.
Under the new brand positioning ‘Relishing the Alternative’, the brand is focussing on plant-based snacking.
The new refreshed packs highlight the culinary ingredients and artisanal food experiences.
The design highlights both its delicious flavour combinations and better-for-you credentials, including vegan and gluten-free.
Helen Pomphrey, Eat Real marketing director, said: “Using bright bold colours and showcasing our mouth-watering ingredients on-pack, the new look and feel is set to bring excitement to the range, whilst also bringing the bold flavours to life.”
Berry Superfos is providing packaging for a new range of salty snacks and dried fruits from leading Danish bakery, snacks and confectionery supplier Nordthy.
Nordthy needed eye-catching packaging, with specific demands for the new pails when it came to design, including in-mould labelling and, the possibility for consumers to repurpose the pails at home.
Nordthy said it aims to phase out packaging labels to become more compliant with today’s need for waste separation, with different types of materials going into different waste streams.
The new packs’ logo and text are inserted straight onto the surface of the new pails, making labels redundant.
Berry Superfos was able to deliver non-standard colours from bright yellow to green, with the same colours adorning each pail from the handle to the base
Jesper Lukassen, head of marketing at Nordthy, said: “Even after the snacks have been eaten, the UniPak pails are still of value to consumers with great potential for multiple uses at home, such as food storage containers or even for holding nails and screws. When a pail is as good as this one, many consumers do not throw it in the trash; they clean it and use it again for other purposes. All in all, this packaging solution really appeals to consumers and this adds value to our products which is a very important aspect.”