News & Updates

Tesco introduces new packaging for fresh whole chickens

Tray and film are almost universally used in retail for fresh, whole chicken packaging – but now giant UK supermarketer, Tesco, is about to change this in its bid to cut down on plastic.

In November 2019, Tesco committed to removing one billion pieces of plastic from its UK business by the end of 2020 as a part of its 4Rs plan to tackle the use of plastics in its business. It has so far removed over 800 million pieces.   

It has announced that from next year it will remove the tray and film from 16 million of its own brand medium, large and extra-large chickens, and replace it with a single bag. In addition to removing 16 million pieces of plastic, it will reduce the overall weight of plastic used to package its whole fresh birds by 30%. [Brilliant appetizing design, too! Ed]

The new packaging is also more hygienic for customers to handle and makes it easier to transfer the bird into a roasting tray without having to handle the chicken.  

Tesco successfully trialled the new packaging at its store in Bar Hill where it tests ideas to help tackle the impact of plastics. 

Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This is the latest step in Tesco’s 4Rs strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – which means it will remove non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business. Where it can’t be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, Tesco will work with its suppliers to reduce it to an absolute minimum. The retailer will explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging and ensure that anything left is all recycled as part of a closed loop. 

Sarah Bradbury, Quality Director at Tesco said: “We’re focused on removing any plastic which is unnecessary, reducing anything that is excessive, introducing reusable options, and making sure everything that’s left is recyclable. Our new chicken pack is a great example of how we are redesigning our packaging to use less plastic, and at the same time we have made it easier and safer for customers to use.”   

Earlier this year, Tesco became the first retailer to stop offering plastic wrapped multi-packs, eliminating 67 million pieces of plastic from the environment. And last month, the retailer changed the packaging of its own label hard cheeses to remove 260 tonnes of plastic each year.  The traditional square block shape was changed from square block to oblong packaging and removed the re-sealable zip. 

The supermarket is also currently running a ten-store trial where it is taking back hard-to-recycle soft plastic packaging using in store collection stations. 

Source: Tesco UK

News & Updates Sustainability

Greiner Packaging partners with SABIC and Unilever to create bouillon packaging made from PCR

Greiner Packaging
 has teamed up with SABIC and Unilever in a pilot project to produce 100% polypropylene (PP) tubs and lids for Knorr bouillon powder using post-consumer recycled plastic material.

SABIC’s “certified circular” PP material uses post-consumer mixed plastic as a feedstock, which is broken down into its molecular building blocks to create what the company describes as “virgin plastics”, which are then used to produce these new recyclable tubs and lids.

The resulting PP polymer is verified and authenticated under the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme, which uses a mass balance approach.

Knorr bouillon powder has now been marketed in the same cardboard-plastic combination for many years. According to Greiner, the outer appearance, functionality, and safety of the new packaging are exactly the same, and the quality is likewise as high as ever.

From the consumer’s perspective, they can still simply remove the cardboard sleeve from the tub itself when the packaging is empty before disposing of the two components as usual.

“By producing some of the tubs from certified circular polypropylene, we want to set a new standard on the market together with our partners and demonstrate what is possible with recycled materials in the food segment. We also want to keep pushing forward with this development.

“Here at Greiner Packaging, we are not only focusing on certified recycled PP – we are also working on our first projects and tests with mechanically recycled PS,” explains Jens Krause, sales director at the Greiner Packaging site in Diepoldsau, Switzerland.

“Our goal is to continue making our packaging more environmentally friendly together with partners like Greiner Packaging and SABIC – especially in the food segment – without consumers having to lower their standards in terms of design, performance, quality, user-friendliness, and food safety.

“We are now testing this using material produced from 100% circular polymer, with the goal of expanding across our portfolio by 2025,” adds Mike Ross, senior packaging manager at Unilever.

News & Updates Sustainability

Tesco removes plastic across own label Christmas range

Supermarket giant Tesco has revealed it has removed over 20 million pieces of plastic from its Christmas range.

Tesco, which won two awards at this year’s UK Packaging Awards, has made changes to its packaging. Its own label crackers will be sold in cardboard packaging while 312,000 Christmas light will be packaged in recyclable cardboard packs.

It has also removed a layer of plastic in Christmas puddings and sponges, which is said to cut 1.78 million pieces of plastic. Tesco has also stopped using glitter for its single-use products and packaging.

Tesco quality director Sarah Bradbury said: “It is an absolute priority of ours to remove and reduce the amount of plastic in our stores to the minimum and ensure everything we use is recycled and kept out of the environment – Christmas time is no exception and we want to do our bit to help customers have more sustainable celebrations.”

News & Updates Sustainability

Mars Food and Amcor to launch recyclable microwavable rice pouch

Mars Food is to start using recyclable mono-polypropylene plastic (PP) for its microwavable rice pouches in 2021.

Working with Amcor, the project will bring to market the industry’s first food-safe, mono-material microwavable rice pouch.

Launching with an initial pilot in the first half of 2021, the business has ambitions to further scale the technology across its portfolio beginning at the back half of the year.

The breakthrough packaging technology will make the pouches for Mars Food’s household brands such as Ben’s Original and Seeds of Change recyclable, where infrastructure exists.

The companies are in the final stages of development of the new pouch and the first packs will launch in limited European markets by mid-year 2021.

The breakthrough is a result of a three-year partnership between Mars Food and Amcor.

Mars Food saod it accelerated the development of the new material through rigorous testing and conducted significant scale up tests in its production facilities in the UK. Working in collaboration with Amcor, it then ensured the material development met all its functional requirements while protecting product quality and safety.

Amcor have led the packaging development through their material science and packaging sustainability expertise. This upcoming launch builds on Amcor’s recent AmLite HeatFlex Recyclable breakthrough.

This will be its first application for microwaveable food and the first in a stand-up pouch format.

Fiona Dawson, global president, Mars Food, multisales and global customers: “This is a huge step for us towards our 2025 commitment of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging. We believe in tackling the world’s sustainability challenges together, and through this partnership with Amcor, we will pilot, learn and then scale the volume of recyclable mono-polypropylene pouches across our portfolio.”

Michael Zacka, president Amcor Flexibles EMEA, added: “Launching our recyclable retort material in a stand-up pouch format that meets stringent food safety standards is a challenge, and Mars Food took this journey together with us. It will be a win when their brands deliver this innovation to consumers.”

The progress is part of Mars’ Sustainable Packaging Plan, which outlines the business’ commitment and plans to achieve 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2025.

The project will also move Amcor closer to achieving its pledge to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.


News & Updates Sustainability

Bavaria range refreshed with new packaging and can size

Reacting to the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages, Bavaria has expanded its range of 0.0% malt beverages to include a new affordable 500ml can.

Traders and spaza shops in Diepsloot, Soweto, Tembisa, Alexandra, Johannesburg CBD and Cosmo City are now stocking the 500ml can, which comes with an RSP of R13,00 per can.

Growth of alcohol-free beer segment

“We’re extremely proud to share the news that the distribution figures for Bavaria 0.0% are growing,” says Oliver Wills, marketing manager at Bavaria. “This latest move will help us reach new customers and better meet the growing market demand for non-alcoholic beers.”

By adding this new can size for its sellers, and offering an expansive selection of flavoured non-alcoholic drinks, Bavaria states that it aims to “cement its leading position in the non-alcoholic beer market” by meeting the rapidly growing demand of consumers who enjoy non-alcoholic beer.

“We’re finding that consumers are drinking alcohol more responsibly, which has led to an exponential growth of the alcohol-free beer segment,” continues Wills. “Because of this, there’s a real appetite for non-alcoholic beers with different flavour profiles, something Bavaria 0.0% can deliver on with its huge range of flavours and variants.”

Packaging relaunch

Bavaria range refreshed with new packaging and can size

Bavaria also recently unveiled a new design for its entire range of 0.0% malt beverages. Last year, the Bavaria brewery celebrated its 300th anniversary and decided to mark the milestone with an extensive brand and packaging relaunch.

According to the company, the signature Bavaria bottle’s revitalised design – with its smooth lines and modern, rounded neck – was created to mirror the company’s passion for innovation. A crisp, clean label reflects the brewery’s use of pure mineral water from its own natural spring, helping to clearly differentiate the many available fruit flavours.

The brand’s trademark compass has been made more prominent on the label, a reminder of where the company came from – growing from a small home brewery in the Netherlands into an internationally recognised brand.

“With over three centuries of experience, we’ve been taking beer brewing seriously for a long time,” says Wills. “The new design pays tribute to this rich history while, at the same time, fits in with today’s modern Bavaria. Innovation is a big part of what we do, and we feel this new design conveys this sentiment directly to our customers.”

The newly-designed and packaged Bavaria malt beverages are currently being phased in at Pick n Pay, Spar, Checkers, Makro and leading independent liquor traders throughout South Africa.


News & Updates Sustainability

England introduces ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds

The ban on supplying plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds has come into force in England with effect from 1 October 2020.

It’s estimated that people in England use 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316 million plastic stirrers, and 1.8 billion plastic cotton buds every year, many of which find their way into the ocean.

By banning the supply of these items, the government believes it can further protect marine wildlife and move one step closer to its ambition of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste.

The ban also comes one month after ministers confirmed that the single-use plastic bag charge would be increased to 10p and be extended to all retailers.

UK environment secretary George Eustice said: “Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head-on. We are already a world-leader in this global effort.

“Our 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers.

“The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.”

Ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton bud sticks ‘fantastic news’, says charity boss

The government has said that disabled people and those with medical conditions will be able to request a plastic straw when visiting a pub or restaurant, as well as purchase them from pharmacies.

Alongside its ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton bud sticks in England, the UK is involved in a range of overseas programmes that are looking to tackle plastic waste.

This includes the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance and the Commonwealth Litter Programme, which aims to prevent plastic waste from reaching the ocean in the first place.

The government is also committed to launching a £500m ($643m) Blue Planet Fund to protect the ocean from plastic pollution, warming sea temperatures and overfishing.Charity the Marine Conservation Society’s head of clean seas Dr Laura Foster said: “It’s fantastic news that the ban on plastic cotton bud sticks, stirrers and straws is now in place.

“The results of our annual Great British Beach Clean have shown a decrease in cotton bud sticks littering British beaches.

“In 2017 we found an average of 31 cotton bud sticks per 100 metres of beach, and in 2019 we found just eight on beaches in England.

“This reflects that many companies have already made the switch away from plastic, in cotton buds and other items, something we need to see more companies doing.

“Only with ambitious policy and forward-thinking brands and companies, can we truly stop the plastic tide.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Unilever hails new technology to recycle sachets

Unilever has developed ‘a groundbreaking new technology’ that will enable the food industry to recycle used multi-layer sachets.

Billions of plastic sachets are thrown away globally every year yet only 14% of all plastic packaging is currently recycled, Unilever said. Its new technology, called the CreaSolv Process, will aim to address this by converting used sachets into plastic and channelling them back into the supply chain.

The pioneering technology has been developed in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Germany. It forms part of the Anglo-Dutch company’s Sustainable Living Plan, after it teamed up with two food waste organisations to reduce the amount of food sent to landfill each year.

Unilever chief R&D officer, David Blanchard, said: “Billions of sachets are used once and just thrown away, all over the world, ending up in landfill or in our waterways and oceans. At the start of this year we made a commitment to help solve this problem, developing new recycling technologies.

“We intend to make this technology open source and would hope to scale the technology with industry partners, so others – including our competitors – can use it.

“There is a clear economic case for delivering this. We know that globally $80-120-billion is lost to the economy through failing to properly recycle plastics each year. Finding a solution represents a huge opportunity.

“We believe that our commitment to making 100% of our packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable will support the long-term growth of our business.”

Sachets suit developing markets

Sachets are popular in developing and emerging markets, where they are an efficient to allow low-income consumers to buy small amounts of product that would otherwise be unaffordable. But until now, faced with no viable recycling solution, the sachets have been discarded for landfill or ended up as litter.

The CreaSolv Process has been adapted from a method used in the recycling of televisions to separate brominated flame retardants from waste electrical and electronic equipment polymers.

During the process, the plastic is recovered from the sachet, and the plastic then used to create new sachets for Unilever products in what the company described as ‘a full circular economy approach’.

Dr. Andreas Mäurer, Department Head of Plastic Recycling at the Fraunhofer IVV said, “With this innovative pilot plant we can, for the first time ever, recycle high-value polymers from dirty, post-consumer, multi-layer sachets.

“Our aim is to prove the economic profitability and environmental benefits of the CreaSolv Process. Our calculations indicate that we are able to recover six kilos of pure polymers with the same energy effort as the production of one kilo of virgin polymer.”

Unilever will open a pilot plant in Indonesia later this year to test the long-term commercial viability of the technology.

Indonesia is ‘a critical country’ for the technology, Unilever said, with 64-million tonnes of waste a year and 1.3-million tonnes ending up in the ocean.

To tackle the industry-wide sachet problem, Unilever is looking to create a sustainable system change by setting up waste collection schemes to channel the sachets to be recycled.

It is testing this by working with local waste banks, governments and retailers and will look to empower waste pickers, integrate them into the mainstream economy and provide a potential long term income.

Source: Unilever

News & Updates Sustainability

Pringles’ iconic tube pilots an eco-makeover in UK

The Kellogg’s brand in the UK is trialling a canister made of recycled paper – which is widely recyclable – that will likely shape the Pringles’ tube of the future.

The move is part of the breakfast cereal and snacks giant’s company-wide commitment to transform to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025.

Launched in partnership with Tesco, the pilot is taking place in three of the grocer’s outlets across East Anglia from September 9, 2020 for six weeks for the Pringles 200g Original variant.

The recycled paper pilot follows a similar trial of a recyclable steel can in Italy at the end of last year.

A Kellogg’s UK spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks, “We’re still in the testing phase in our journey of designing the Pringles can of the future.​

“As a global brand, we will be assessing the results of our packaging trials in [both] Italy and the UK soon to understand which formats could work best.”​

Finding the can of the future

The iconic tube – invented by organic chemist and food storage technician Fredric John Baur – has been a defining feature of Pringles since it was launched in 1967 in the US. 

However, it was branded one of the ‘villains’ of the recycling world by the UK’s Recycling Association, thanks to its use of multiple materials including a metal base, plastic cap, metal tear-off lid and foil-lined cardboard sleeve, which are difficult to recycle through an existing household recycling system.

To overcome this, Pringles partnered with TerraCycle two years ago to create a free recycling programme for all Pringles cans in the UK.

Now, after 12 months of intensive R&D, an in-house team has created a recyclable paper tube that also protects the hyperbolic paraboloid shaped contents and maintains their crunch over a long shelf life.

The paper cans will be trialled with two different lids: a paper lid and a plastic lid, both of which can also be recycled.

Consumers input

“We are eager to play our part and reduce our impact on the planet. And, Pringles fans expect that of us too. So, we’ve worked hard to come up with this new can, which is widely recyclable and keeps our chips fresh and tasty and protects them from breaking up – which helps to reduce food waste,” ​said Miranda Prins, Pringles VP. 

“The important thing for us now is getting the trial up and running with Tesco and collecting all the data and consumer feedback.​

One-on-one surveys and high tech surveillance will be conducted to help the brand understand the reaction of shoppers – including eye tracking analysis to see how consumers visually react to the new packaging on shelf.​

“At this stage it is too early to say whether we’ll roll out this new paper tube, however, the information we collect will help us understand if people like it and if it works on the supermarket shelf and at home. This trial will help us create the Pringles can of the future,” ​added Prins….. Read the full article here

News & Updates Sustainability

UK: Unilever trials ‘first ever’ wrapper-less ice cream multipack

Unilever ice cream brand, Solero, has been launched in a wrapper-less multipack which uses 35% less plastic compared to the original pack.

The new box – which can be “widely recycled” in the UK – has built-in compartments, enabling the individual ice creams to be packaged without a plastic wrapper. The specially designed PE (polyethylene) coated cardboard design ensures the taste and quality of the ice creams are not compromised by the plastic deduction.

The wrapper-less ice-cream multipack for Solero’s Organic Peach range is being trialed exclusively with online grocery retailer, Ocado. A limited number of products are available to test the new packaging and gather consumer feedback.

“The Solero ‘no wrapper’ multipack is made from PE coated cardboard. The packaging has been approved by the OPRL (The On-Pack Recycling Label) to carry the widely recycled logo.

It is 95% carton box with a 5% thin layer of plastic PE coating on the inside. PE-lined products with this low percentage can be widely recycled in the UK,” Noel Clarke, VP of Refreshment at Unilever, told PackagingInsights.

The Solero’s Organic Peach box has built-in compartments, enabling the individual ice creams to be packaged without a plastic wrapper.

“We have also made sure that the pack is leak resistant to account for when ice creams are at risk from melting in the hot weather. Your ice creams won’t melt any faster without their jackets, but make sure to get them back to the freezer before they melt, as you would do with most ice cream,” he added.

If the trial proves successful, it could influence plastic reduction schemes across Unilever’s ice cream range in the long-term.

This trial is the latest innovation in brand owner Unilever’s #GetPlasticWise initiative which aims to rethink plastic in the UK. The plan sees Unilever working collaboratively with partners to seek out solutions plus support and educate consumers on how they can reduce plastic consumption.

Earlier this year, Unilever launched its #GetPlasticWise campaign, which is a holistic approach to rethinking plastic. This launch reflects the FMCG’s commitment to ensure that, globally, all of its plastic packaging is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to use more recycled plastic content in its packaging.

Unilever is a founding member of 2018 The UK Plastics Pact, an initiative led by WRAP to transform the plastic packaging system in the UK. Unilever supported WRAP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in the development of ambitious 2025 targets including:

  • Eliminating problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging
  • 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable
  • 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted
  • 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.

Also as a part of its sustainability commitment, Unilever has joined the On-Pack Recycling Lapel (ORPL) scheme, which is a movement to provide simple and consistent recycling guidance across products sold in the UK…. Read the full article

News & Updates Sustainability

Game-changing new compostable food packaging ?

W-Cycle, an Israeli foodTech startup, has developed SupraPulp, made from upcycled sugarcane bagasse. Unlike other compostable food packaging. it’s non-coated, omniphobic, can be frozen/heated and remains completely unaffected by liquids and oils.

SupraPulp is patented, field-tested, and an ideal replacement for plastic, aluminium, or foam containers. It is made from 100% renewable sugarcane bagasse, the dry, pulpy fibrous matter that remains after sugarcane or sorghum stalks are crushed to extract their juice.

SupraPulp is compostable, non-coated, toxin and metal free. The containers have unique characteristics compared to standard bagasse containers. While standard pulp products cannot sustain liquids and oils, SupraPulp containers are oil and water-resistant and avoid any absorption or leakage.

CPET plastic trays are typically used in for ready-meal packaging. SupraPulp, just like CPET, is ideal for ready meals since it is suitable for freezer-to-oven/microwave convenience.

Following years of R&D efforts, this new material is able to be frozen to -40°C and reheated to 270°C (-40°F and reheated to 518°F), inviting a comprehensive range of food applications. After use, the package can be disposed of as organic waste.

Fresh meat, poultry and sea food are also commonly packed in plastic (PE, PET, styrofoam) due to their juice runoff. SupraPulp is a great replacement as it will not absorb them, leak or soften.

“You can dispose SupraPulp packages the same way as you would your salad,” says Lior Itai, CEO and co-founder of W-Cycle. “This food-grade, compostable packaging is a one-to-one replacement for its plastic counterpart.

“There are other compostable solutions on the market, but SupraPulp has game-changing functionality consumers need when they want to heat, freeze, or microwave convenience food products. Plus, SupraPulp trays have a luxury look and feel compared to plastic, aluminum, or bioplastic containers.

“Other green solutions such as bioplastic made from the whole plant need to be specially grown, harvested, and processed. SupraPulp is made from the waste upcycled from sugarcane, or similar crops such as wheat, bananas, etc. It is the ultimate green, sustainable, eco-friendly solution to plastic waste.”

“Covid19 is drawing consumers’ attention to how we treat our planet and the future of the environment,” stresses Joseph Siani, CTO and co-founder of W-Cycle. “There is greater demand — and pressure — on brands to offer environmentally responsible products. Providing a compostable solution for ready meals, and meat products allows us to help food manufactures as well as consumers ditch plastic containers and create a cleaner environment. Together, we can put end to plastic pollution.

“We are currently marketing SupraPulp trays and connecting with strategic distributors, the demand is outstanding.”

Read more here: