From paper beer bottles to stay-fresh fruit stickers, we gather the latest innovations in the world of packaging
The world of packaging is going through one of its greatest ever period of changes. The need for brands and products to stand out in an increasingly crowded market coupled with a much greater focus on sustainability is compelling marketing departments and design companies to look closely at every aspect of product packaging to make it as attractive, functional and environmentally friendly as possible.
Here are five of the most recent innovations that caught our eye:
The drinks industry has been under scrutiny for a while now regarding the plastic rings used to hold together multipacks of cans – particularly beer – but Heineken have announced that they are replacing the plastic with recyclable cardboard. Having invested £22m in new technology and production facilities, the move will lead to 517m tonnes of plastic being removed from Heineken’s packaging by the end of 2021.
In other booze news, Carlsberg has revealed two prototypes of its ‘Green Fibre Bottle’, the first ever paper beer bottles. The bottles are made of sustainably sourced wood fibre with an inner barrier, and are fully recyclable.
Because you’re worth it
Stora Enso have launched a new paper-based packaging tube for cosmetics that will cut down the amount of plastic in a traditional tube by 70%. Made from a barrier-coated, grease-resistant paperboard, the tube is suitable for the primary packaging of a range of cosmetics and beauty products such as skin cream. The company is also developing biocomposite materials to replace the cap and shoulder of the tube, which will further reduce the plastic content.
Meanwhile, Colgate have launched a new toothbrush made with 100% biodegradable and sustainably grown bamboo. Presented in recycled cardboard packaging, the Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush has been coated with beeswax to minimise water absorption and improve durability.
Bags for life
There’s been a flurry of activity in recyclable food-safe packaging, with Smurfit Kappa and Mitsubishi HiTec Paper announcing the development of their inner bag solution that offers protection against moisture and grease, as well as heat-sealing capability. Coupled with outer packaging that has built-in adsorption properties which protect against aromas and migration of substances, the complete solution is fully recyclable.
“Using an FSC-certified paper bag sealed with wax, the packaging produces 65% less CO2 than conventional film bags”
On a similar theme, the Gold winner at the recent German Packaging Awards was paper packaging developed for Alb Gold pasta. Using an FSC-certified paper bag sealed with wax, the packaging produces 65% less CO2 than conventional film bags, and impressed the judges with the excellent recyclability of the untreated paper and conservation of resources.
Have a break…
To reduce the four million-plus plastic KitKat wrappers that end up in Japanese landfills every day, KitKat Japan developed bespoke recyclable paper packaging to replace its plastic wrapping. Japan is the world’s biggest market for KitKats and its makers, Nestlé, estimate that this new packaging will help to reduce the brand’s plastic waste by around 380 tonnes a year.
In addition, to encourage KitKat fans not to throw the packaging away in the first place, each part of the packaging comes inscribed with instructions on how to transform it into an origami crane. Creating engagement, talk-ability and increased sustainability, this campaign is a giant leap forward for confectionery packaging.
A new sticker has been developed by Seattle-based startup Stixfresh that claims it can keep fruit fresh for up to two weeks longer. Just by placing a single small sticker on a piece of fruit, such as an apple, pear, avocado, kiwi, mango or orange, the fruit will stay fresh while unstickered fruits become over-ripe and inedible.
According to the company, the sticker’s all-natural coating is made up of specially sourced beeswax and other natural ingredients, which creates a protective layer around the fruit, slowing down the ripening process while increasing sweetness, retaining moisture and inhibiting the fruit’s cellular structure from breaking down.
Article by Sam Upton