‘It’s very rewarding to have been part of this collaborative effort with such innovative partners and that the extrusion coatings plant in Zeltweg, Austria, could contribute towards this ground-breaking development,’ enthuses Michael Strobl, Mondi Extrusion Coatings’ MD.
The project demanded some serious out-of-the-box thinking from these partners, as Lisa Ronquest-Ross, R&D director for Mars Africa, recalls: ‘During the development phase the team faced significant challenges from initial trial reels that disintegrated on line to shifting mindsets and proving that non-foil packaging is puncture resistant, food safe and can deliver long shelf life.’
The result, a high-gloss white clay-coated paper with a modified polyethylene backing, is a packaging solution that delivers both sustainability benefits and cost savings without compromising on quality or food safety. Moreover, the introduction of a special sealing polymer has brought about extensive energy and cost savings by reducing sealing temperatures from 175°C to 115°C on Mars’ high-speed filling lines.
‘By removing the non-recyclable aluminium foil from the laminate we achieve a 25% reduction in the materials’ carbon footprint,’ Lisa explains.
For the last 20 years, food manufacturers have relied on paper/aluminium foil packaging to achieve high-oxygen and moisture barriers for dry soup powders and sauces. Now tests show conclusively that a non-foil coextruded high-barrier paper laminate delivers an 18-month shelf life for dry powders.
The entire Royco instant and packet soup range is being relaunched in the new packaging, resulting in significant sustainability benefits.
From a consumer perspective the benefits are also considerable. The packaging ensures great taste retention throughout the product’s shelf life, enabling Royco to live up to its ‘delicious every time’ brand promise. Additionally, the foil-free packaging is easy to open.
‘Above all, consumers know that every time they choose a Royco instant or packet soup they are making a better choice for the planet,’ Lisa concludes.
[Ed’s note: The 25% carbon footprint reduction is calculated in accordance with the Framework for the Development of Carbon Footprints for paper and board products, issued in September 2007 by the Confederation of European Paper Industries. ]