The Gold medals – awarded in the Non-Alcoholic Beverage Packaging category and Substrate Excellence category for the Best in Paper Packaging – recognised the development work on Spar’s revamped two-litre Pure-Pak milk cartons. These cartons are made from a lighter weight, unbleached board with better light barriers, as well as a two-piece (spout and cap) bio-based closure – a more sustainable and convenient alternative than the former three-piece design (spout and pull-out membrane with ring and cap) – which is compatible with the current HDPE recycling stream.
‘We’re extremely proud to have been honoured with two Gold medals at this year’s Gold Pack Awards. Nampak brought together Spar’s idea with liquid carton board from Stora Enso and execution by Woodlands Dairy. It has resulted in South Africa’s first Natura Life gable top carton,’ comments Quinton Swart, Nampak Group executive: Paper and Eastern Africa. ‘This achievement showcases our commitment to sustainability, and we look forward to producing more award-winning, planet-friendly packaging in the future.’
Quinton goes on to explain that Stora Enso sources Natura Life board from responsibly-managed FSC certified forests, and is 100% recyclable in South Africa. ‘Eliminating the bleaching process keeps the fibres stronger, which means that less board is required for each carton, reducing its carbon footprint,’ he states. ‘Additionally, it runs on Woodlands Dairy’s existing filling lines without modifications in machine settings. After the milk is heat treated to reduce the microbial count beyond normal pastuerisation, it is packaged under ultra-hygienic conditions to extend the shelf life to 35 days under refrigeration.’
Furthermore, the Elopak closures are made from sugar cane and tall oil, both renewable resources and the 3mm wider mouth results in better pouring.
Printing and finishing
Seelan Pather, GM of Polymer Art, which undertook the project’s pre-media work, adds that the brief from Spar and Nampak’s design and project development teams was to retain strong graphics and fridge appeal. ‘The natural brown colour of the board, as well as its slightly uneven surface that feels natural and fibrous to the touch, presented a printing challenge, particularly in ensuring colour consistency through the run and across the Full Cream and Low Fat variants.
However, favourable consumer reaction that indicates that these objectives were achieved and Spar’s “Packaging by Nature” mantra was perfectly communicated,’ Seelan states.
He adds that recyclable packaging substrates with high renewable source content are often rejected by brand owners due to cost, shelf life or shelf shout limitations, which risk a negative consumer reaction. ‘Spar and Nampak have, however, jointly created a pack that tackles these constraints head-on and demonstrates the retailer’s commitment to driving its sustainability agenda forward. The cartons are flexo printed in six colours and the result shows well-coordinated visual detail and branding consistency with the Spar house brand family,’ he remarks.
Spar’s perishables brand manager, Diane Kantor, agrees that the collaboration with key partners is helping drive the Group’s “Packaging by Nature” mantra for house brands, and reducing their overall environmental impact. ‘We are thrilled that this commitment to creating more environmentally-friendly packaging has been recognised by these two Gold Pack Awards medals,’ she adds.
Lex Gutsche, chairman and CEO of Woodlands Dairy, says: ‘This has been an exciting project because it speaks to our joint drive to lower our carbon footprint and push our sustainability agenda. The Gold medals are a wonderful recognition of the entire team’s efforts to date. This package is yet another step towards making a positive contribution to the planet, and we are honoured to be part of Spar’s drive to make a real difference. Responsible, conscientious consumers will love this package.’
Graham McKinon, MD of Stora Enso SA is equally jubilant. ‘We’re very happy about the success of the carton and the recognition of its excellence at the Gold Pack Awards. It’s visually-appealing and creates a naturally different, sustainable and authentic package that meets the growing demand for ethical and ecological products.’
Nampak Group’s five other Gold Pack Awards
In addition to the two Gold medals detailed above for the Nampak Liquid Cartons division, Nampak Bevcan and Nampak Zimbabwe scooped five further Gold Pack Awards accolades.
In the Alcoholic Beverages category, Nampak Bevcan received a Bronze medal for its 250ml single-serve aluminium cans for JC Le Roux sparkling wines, and a finalist medal for Distell’s 4th Street Spritzer Cans and co-ordinated six-pack wrap, produced in collaboration with Polyflex and Tropic Plastics & Packaging.
In the Non-Alcoholic Beverages category, Nampak Bevcan was recognised with a Finalist medal for its 300ml slender beverage cans for Day Water’s still and sparkling variants.
Nampak Zimbabwe also received accolades for the production of the Eezi Pool Floatster monthly pool care system, which is manufactured in conjunction with Wormhill Investments. The design won a Finalist medal in the Household Products category and a Gold medal in the Star of Africa Awards, which acknowledges continental packaging excellence, where no similar award programmes exist.
‘Although this year’s Gold Pack Awards was met with challenging circumstances due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nampak remained strongly committed to supporting this Institute of Packaging SA initiative as a headline sponsor. Awards such as these promote professionalism in packaging and pride in the profession, while maximising exports and minimising imports, which are necessary for the growth of our industry,’ concludes Quinton Swart, Nampak Group executive: Paper and Eastern Africa