Category Archives: packaging

What a good tasting packaging!

Some people have a lot of ideas. Inventor and chemical engineer David Edwards chronicles the ones he makes happen on his personal website—everything from text books hes written to new companies hes started.

In the past, he figured out a way to make and sell “breathable” food, but his latest idea, and the startup he founded to commercialize it, is one that actually may change the way we eat.

WikiCells is a form of edible packaging that will attempt to eliminate societys wasteful addiction to packaging—millions of tons worth end up in landfills each year, according to the EPA.

According to the new ventures website, the idea for WikiCells is rooted in the way nature has always delivered nutrients: in a digestible skin “held together by healthy ions like calcium.”

Apples, potatoes, tomatoes: they all have an edible exterior that protects the treat within. Even something that isnt exactly delicious—like a citrus peel—finds its way into the kitchen in the form of zest.”This soft skin may be comprised primarily of small particles of chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or many other natural substances with delicious taste and often useful nutrients,” writes the WikiCells team.

“Inside the skin may be liquid fruit juice, or thick pudding.” So far Edwards and his collaborators—chief among them the industrial designer François Azambourg—have experimented with a gazpacho-stuffed tomato membrane, a wine-filled grape-like shell, and an orange juice-laden orb with a shell that tastes like, you guessed it, an orange.

Possibilities like an edible milk bottle or yogurt container are not out of the question. This summer WikiCells plans to market ice cream in an edible shell to a French audience—a high-tech version of something the Japanese have long enjoyed: ice cream-stuffed mochi.

via Packaging Never Tasted So Good: The Brave, New World of Edible Wrappers – Lifestyle – GOOD.

A ScenSational discovery allows you smell the aroma right from the packaging

Patent-pending innovation EncapScent, which has been developed by US-based ScentSational Technologies, will enable food and drink companies to add food grade flavours to packaging to convey the brand aroma, the company has claimed.

The coating, which can be added in-line, can be engineered to release an aroma at different stages; when picked up from the shelf, during handling, opening, use or consumption.

The intensity of the activated scent, which is intended as short-term aroma, can also be adjusted based on the client’s preferences, ScentSational Technologies added.

The company is working closely with flavour houses to make custom flavours for individual applications. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved flavours are then applied to the packaging outer-surface and remain dormant until activated by the consumer.

Scented coating

“A scented micro-encapsulated coating (MEC) is applied to the outside of the packaging, after filling or assembly,” ScentSational chief technological officer Steven M. Landau told FoodProductionDaily.com.

“The aroma is protected by a microscopic cell, that when handled ruptures and releases the scent. There are millions of cells on each packaging application so cells can be ruptured and the scent released over and over again.”

“The coating can be applied on the production line. So with beverages we can apply it to the bottle, the cap, the label. It can be applied to any shape on the filling line.”

The development is safe for use with food, beverage and pharmaceutical products. It is not directly exposed to product ingredients and is compliant with food packaging regulations, Landau added.

“For food we are only using FDA approved flavours. These will not interact directly with food. If applied on the outside of packaging, it can improve and enhance aromatically.”

Client ‘wish list’

The innovation, can also be used to enhance the taste of the product during use or consumption, was developed in response to client requests for an inexpensive way to convey product aroma.

“We had our customers coming to us with a wish list. That was the origin of the development,” Landau said.

“We have been asked for many years to develop technology like this. We have tested it and it can even be adapted to ice cream. It’s a real game changer for frozen foods.”

“Until just recently, the sense of smell has been the most neglected sense in brand marketing strategies. Of the five senses, smell is the most powerful in driving consumer preference, conjuring up memories and creating purchase intent. As a result, our customers have been asking for a lost cost technology to deliver aroma from the shelf,” Landau added.

via ‘ScentSational’ packaging coating delivers food or drink aroma.

Sustainability in Italy: what big retail players are doing.

Italians are virtuous, with a constantly growing attention towards the environment among young people. This is the picture that emerges from the research about Italian Sustainability and emerging lifestyles: 2,500 interviews, a sample of the Italian population aged between 15 and 74 years. Objective: To identify the most common habits among Italians to reduce their environmental impact.

“The majority of Italians, 50.9%, is sensitive to issues related to sustainability, 48.6% said they buy environmentally friendly products. There is a 36.4% claiming to not care and a 12.7% which is almost hostile to the subject”, “explains Monica Fabris, sociologist, currently president of the Episteme institute of research. “Sustainability is primarily a response to unconscious needs: fear, for example. And the international crisis in this sense was crucial because it demonstrated the unsustainability of many behaviors, limited resources and has spread the importance of having more conservative attitudes. ”

This explanation of Fabris, that the sensitivity of the Italian added: “We are not the most attentive of Europe, but we have a different kind of sustainability. In the research we have identified four types of “green” attitudes. There are “promoters of a shared involvment” (10.9%) who practice a sort of militant environmentalism, they think that everyone can do something and that sustainability is a value. Then there are the “those who judge” (10.4%), people who feel the need to see polluters and waste producers being legally punished. The vision of “eco-nostalgic” (14.8%) is about a return to the past and considering saving and reducing consumption real goals. Finally, there is “the vanguard of sustainable consumption” (63,9%) who have a key to modern, pragmatic and are willing to pay for more virtuous behaviours” This last category direct their purchases mainly to products of the big market, identified as guarantors of attitudes ecofriendly.

“All the big brands have sustainable programs. The projects are very varied and range from research to packaging more easily disposable and recyclable materials to reduce water consumption, the increasing presence of photovoltaic systems to supplement the energy needs of the factories to the use of new production technologies with low environmental impact ” says Ivo Ferrario, director of communications Centromarca, the association of the most important companies active in Italy brand. “Huge efforts are also undertaken to provide consumers with a better information, and to educate companies’employees thanks to specific activities regarding the environmental and sustainability issues.” In this direction is the Total Quality Day organized by Coca-Cola HBC Italy: each year, employees spend a day and a half attending comprehensive educational programs about safety and environment. “We talk about the correct control of raw materials, top quality production processes, optimization of cargo handling and a more effective waste management,” says Alessandro Magnoni, Communication and External Relations Manager. “About sustainability, last June we put into operation a large cogeneration plant in Nogales (Vr), which has already reduced CO2 emissions by 66% and increased energy efficiency up to 83%. But this is just the beginning, we plan to equip all eight Italian plants with photovoltaic systems, an operation that will avoid the emission of 11,500 tons of CO2. ”

Another international brand is following the same path, Heineken, which in 2010 presented a ten-year plan Brewing a better future. “The aim is to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from production processes by 40% and to fall by 25% on water consumption. All by 2020 “explains Alfredo Pratolongo, Communication and Institutional Affairs Manater at Heineken Italy. A strong commitment to social responsibility is also the mission of Procter & Gamble, a leader in consumer products which collects 300 brands: “We have halved the production of waste and CO2 in our plants and use alternative energy generated by wind and photovoltaic systems “says the head of Italy’s sustainability policies, Renato Sciarrillo. He adds: “For those of us who handles many products – we have 140 factories in 80 countries -logistics is crucial: we want to move 30% by rail transport. But that’s not all. “Concentrated” products ensure reductions in packaging up to 45% and the research is aiming at finding new materials to replace plastics. ”

About packaging, Nestlé has a dedicated team that study sizes and materials to reduce environmental impact. “In 2010, in Italy we have avoided the use of 147 tons of materials including metal, paper and plastic. Our objective is to optimize weight and volume, to use materials that you can recover properly, to develop materials from renewable sources and to support initiatives to recycle and recover energy from used packaging “explains Manuela Kron, Nestlé Group Italy Corporate Affairs manager. “To do this we have added a cogeneration and regeneration power plant in San Sisto (PG) and Moretta (CN), which allow us to cut the emission of around 13 000 tonnes of CO2 per year.”

Investments in the study of eco packaging and using alternative energy are also key points for L’Oréal. “We have been working on green chemistry for over ten years and thanks to our research we have recently discovered cosmetic effects of natural sugars. This year we launched a major center for predictive evaluation in Gerland (Lyon) where more than 99% of our ingredients are animal-free tested. Our packaging use a high percentage of recyclable material, we only use wood fiber from certified forests. The Garnier brand, for example, in 2012 will cut the weight of packaging by 15%, “says Giorgina Gallo, managing director of L’Oréal Italy. And the future? “The global goal for 2015 is a reduction of 50% in CO2 emissions, 50% of water consumption and waste generated per unit of finished product. In particular, our factory in Settimo Torinese, in the forefront on sustainability issues, is finalizing two projects that use alternative energy to become, by the end of 2012, a zero emissions plant. ”

Always in Italy, another brand which is very attentive to sustainability is Barilla. “Over 92% of our packaging is recyclable and now we want to exceed 95% in advance to target set for 2014. In recent years we have supplied cogeneration pasta plants, developed energy saving projects and replaced the electricity used in the production of Mulino Bianco products by Renewable Energy Certificate System certificates. This has reduced by about 10% the CO2 emissions for each unit of finished product, “explains Barilla’s Head of Communications and Media, Giuseppe Cocconi. This anticipates the future: “We want to reduce the impact of our products in a timely manner ensuring production processes throughout the supply chain.”

And as we have already informed you about, another worlwide known Italian company, Illy, have been awarded for its sustainable approach during the production processes, receiving the DNV Green Coffee Responsible Supply Chain Process certification. A certificate that emphasizes respect for the ecosystem through the use of recycled packaging and non-polluting practices.
In Danone are applying a very tight control system too. “In 2011 we will reach the goal of being the only company in this market segment to use thermoformed plastic, a new generation made much lighter and with less plastic, for the entire range of products ” explains Gianluca Mormino, director of Danone factory in Casale Cremasco . “This system also allows you to sell the pots which are welded together, avoiding the secondary packaging. And we are studying biodegradable packaging. ”

There is another sector which is very eco-friendly, and Philips is one of the brands involved. “We have to meet annual targets tied to packaging, water and energy savings,” explains Sergio Tonfi head of communications. “In 2010, the” green “products accounted for 38% of our total revenues, in 2007 were 20%: this is the result of three years long investment in innovation worth about 1 billion euros” (Source: Manuela Croci -Corriere.it)

ECOFFEE at the next goGreen for packaging conference

We are happy to inform you that ECOFFEE is one of the partners of the next goGreen for packaging conference, that is going to take place in Rome next June 28th and wants to act as a catalyst for all those market players who believe sustainability is the future.
In a 20 minutes speech, ECOFFEE founder, Norman Cescut, will talk about the role of sustainability in the Retail business and why it is necessary for Retail to become greener.
Please contact us directly at info@ecoffee.it  for further information about the speech and for scheduling a meeting.

Cosmetics industry faces sustainability

We always talk about sustainability in the retail sector dealing with products such as food and apparel, but what about cosmetics? There has been increased interest from the cosmetics industry toward sustainability, the reason why a  Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, is going to be held in New York from May 12 – 14.

In the cosmetics business too, sustainability has become very important to help companies to steer their way out of the recession and tap into the big opportunities that are likely to arise over the next five years.

As stated by Irina Barbalova, head of beauty and personal care for Euromonitor, the four key trends in the cosmetic industry include focusing on the ever-growing emerging markets, new media in western markets, offering better value for money to consumers who continue to be hard hit by the economic downturn in western markets and communicating sustainability through brands.

As stated by Aveda‘s VP, Chuck Bennet “The environmental footprint of a cosmetic, or any product, must account for the full ‘life cycle’ of the product. This includes many factors such as energy and water consumption, emissions to the environment. It can significantly misrepresent the actual footprint of a product if the focus is limited to, for example, manufacturing only.”

According to market researcher Accenture, co-operation with packaging suppliers in efforts to reduce the overall carbon footprint of products. Pressure to reduce environmental impact, and to reduce costs generally, is forcing companies to take sustainable packaging seriously. A supply chain view of packaging provides the breadth of vision required to develop optimal solutions: for example, the recycling of some packaging materials and the switch to reusable packaging. To address sustainability, Accenture recommends companies scan their supply chains to determine the true value proposition of different strategies to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The research firm estimates that companies can save 3 to 5 percent in supply chain costs by adopting green packaging initiatives, in addition to the revenue uplift from green consumers.

In the US, L’Oreal for example made inroads to reduce the environmental impact of its beauty product packaging by introducing two new assessment tools to its package design process, while Unilever has looked to reduce the amount of waste used in the packaging of a product, yet maintain protection. Unilever has minimised the packaging on its stick deodorants as well as making them more lightweight, to reduce the impact of transporting the goods.

In France, Clarins has built an alternative model, such as agreeing long term Fairtrade contracts with producers of katafray in Madagascar, offering 5% of the sales price from relevant brands to help local communities. “I believe consumers today are more knowledgeable than before, thanks to the media, so they can see through companies that greenwash,” said Yvette James, head of Clarins‘ responsible development division. (Source: CosmeticDesign.com, warc.com. Picture credits: Americanspamag)

The Coca Cola Company and the new PlantBottle® packaging: sustainability comes from sugarcane!

Beginning April 4, 2011 the first 100 percent recyclable beverage packages made with plants are readily available to people across the U.S. If you want to enjoy the fresh taste of DASANI, or a nourishing Odwalla beverage in a more environmentally responsible package made from plants, now you can. There’s no more waiting.

PlantBottle® packaging for both brands was developed with the planet in mind by PlantBottle® Packaging Platform, The Coca Cola Company.  Single-serve Odwalla packages are made from up to 100 percent plant-based materials with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. PET bottles for DASANI are made with up to 30 percent plant-based materials.

“It’s our goal to make traditional plastic bottles a thing of the past and ensure that every beverage we produce is available in 100 percent plant-based, fully recyclable packaging,” said Scott Vitters, General Manager, PlantBottle® Packaging Platform, The Coca-Cola Company. “The national launch of DASANI PlantBottle® packaging represents an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint, and the up to 100 percent plant-based, recyclable packaging used for Odwalla is the first of its kind in the beverage industry.”

Traditional PET bottles are made from petroleum and other nonrenewable fossil fuels. Incorporating a blend of petroleum-based materials with up to 30 percent plant-based materials allows PlantBottle® packaging for DASANI to reduce potential intrinsic carbon dioxide emissions when compared with PET plastic bottles

“DASANI is designed to make a difference by offering a better designed package for a more sustainable future,” said John Roddey, Vice President and General Manager, Water, Tea and Coffee, Coca-Cola North America. “Because DASANI PlantBottle® packaging is up to 30 percent made from plants and still 100 percent recyclable, it was designed with the planet in mind by helping to reduce the impact of our packaging on the environment.”

The plant-based materials for both DASANI and Odwalla PlantBottle® packaging are produced through a process that turns sugarcane into a key component for PET and HDPE plastic. Currently, PlantBottle® packaging is made using sugarcane ethanol from Brazil, the only source widely recognized globally for its unique environmental and social performance. Brazilian sugarcane is primarily rain fed and industrially grown on abundant, arable land using organic fertilizers. The plantations from which PlantBottle materials are sourced are located far away from Amazon rain forests, and their impact on biodiversity is reduced thanks to advanced farming practices and sound public policy.

Unlike other plant-based plastics, PlantBottle® packaging is entirely recyclable and can be processed through existing systems. This ensures PlantBottle® packaging can be repeatedly used, recycled and reused. In addition, there are no differences in shelf life, weight, composition or appearance between traditional PET plastic bottles and PlantBottle® plastic bottles.

In late 2009, PlantBottle® packaging was launched in the western U.S. and eight other markets around the world. To date, PlantBottle® packaging is estimated to have eliminated the equivalent of 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or three million gallons of gasoline used to produce PET plastic bottles. Currently, The Coca-Cola Company is working to further technology so other plant materials can be used in future PlantBottle® packaging. The ultimate long-term goal is to turn waste into a resource, resulting in a carbon neutral, 100 percent renewable, responsibly sourced bottle that is fully recyclable.

“Several approaches to a PET package made entirely from plants have been successfully demonstrated in laboratory testing. We’re working to advance this breakthrough science to ensure it is commercially viable,” said Vitters. “PlantBottle® packaging means only good things for everybody. We welcome others in the industry joining us in advancing the science behind packaging made from plants.”

The technology used to make PlantBottle® packaging already has been adopted by Heinz, which recently announced it will begin packaging its ketchup using that technology this summer under license from The Coca-Cola Company.

The rollout of PlantBottle® packaging for DASANI will be supported by a national television spot breaking in April. Additional executions will include enhanced packaging graphics, as well as out-of-home, print, digital and point-of sale-advertising to build awareness for PlantBottle® packaging. Odwalla’s marketing program includes coupons, print advertising, digital programs and new labeling Point-of-sale materials for in-store displays will feature attention-grabbing messages such as “Paper or Plastic? Try Plant!” (Source: Businesswire)

Eco packaging: are biodegradable Cans the future?

A few info:
– 4 million tonnes of aluminium is produced annually
– the production of aluminium disrupts the landscape where bauxite ore is mined, consumes large amounts of electricity and produces waste.
– More than 75% of all the aluminium ever produced is still in use
– In the UK 51,000 tonnes of which ends up as packaging  If all cans in the UK were recycled, we would need 14 million fewer dustbins.
– £36,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year.

We are not condamning aluminium itself, also because it can be 100% recycled, and its use in the automotive industry can help reduce the oil consumption and CO2 emissions. But we would like to point out that consumers must understand that their refusal to recycle aluminium cans impact negatively the environment and create great social costs.

Retailers first should have to explain to their customers the added value in purchasing recycled aluminium packaged goods and/or offer alternatives to the traditional aluminium can.

Right now, the only product we found are these PLA Studio’s biodegradable Tin Cans, whose price does not make them suitable for nowadays industry use, but we are sure that in the future they will. (Photo courtesy of PLA Studio)

Green packaging: here’s some news

In our ECOFFEE experience, Green Packaging and waste management are two of the most difficult to handle issues for a retailer who wants to approach a greener and more sustainable business. Just a couple of years ago, it was very difficult to find packaging that could be both resistant, green and easy to recycle or compost. Now life has been made easier by smart companies which are offering to retailers plenty of products to satisfy the most demanding client: from corn cups to sugar-beet takeout containers, degradable packaging is forecast to expand an impressive 13.6 percent annually to $685 million in 2014.

Now let's talk about two very different kind of packaging, coffee cups and pizza cardboard. Coffee cups are not that common in Italy, where coffee is still serverd in the traditional ceramic "tazzina", but everywhere else in the world, it is a must for those who want to sip the hot drink while driving to office. The Repurpose One Cup  is a new insulated hot cup that is 100 percent certified compostable. The design requires no sleeve, uses 65 percent less CO2 than a disposable coffee cup to produce, and can be composted in 90 days in an industrial facility. If the cups are thrown away with regular trash, they will degrade in the landfill just like food waste. Traditional insulated cups are made by adding additional layers of paper; however, the One Cup keeps coffee (and other beverages) hot by applying patented insulation material to a single wall cup made of FSC-Certified paper.

Talking about pizza, here's the "Salvapizza", a prototype developed in Italy by a pool of experts. Salvapizza is made of white cardboard printed with food ink and this prototype allows consumers to heat the pizza in the microwave. Thanks to the side slots, the pizza "breathes", ensuring the right kind of ventilation during the heating process, hence preserving the pizza fragrance. In the prototyping of Salvapizza, special attention was paid to the possibility of recycling the used container. The cardboard can be in fact easily divided in two parts: the upper part can be detached and easily recycled in the paper waste container. A simple idea, but that can help recycling a lot of waste material, thinking that each year, the Italian production of cardboards for pizza sums up to almost 620 million units. (Source: Crispgreen and Marrai A Fura)

Green Marketing 3.0 not that successful case history: Pepsi Raw

In a previous post we talked about Green Marketing 3.0. Here is a very intersting story about a not that successful case.

In 2007, Pepsi launched a great cola called Pepsi Raw in the UK: a fantastic packaging and a great taste,containing no artificial preservatives, colours, flavourings or sweeteners. By replacing corn syrup with cane sugar, Pepsi managed to reduce the calorie content of a 300ml bottle from around 120 calories to around 90 calories. It all came with a great on-line and off-line marketing campaign and in 2009 Pepsi Raw included a Twitter tag on cans and asked consumers to log-on to the microblogging website to share their thoughts on the soda in 140 characters or less. The last Twitter feed dates January 2010 and at that date Pepsi Raw had only 1293 followers. It was not a great success, especially the rollout to grocery, and the product had to be withdrawn from the UK market.

Sad story, but this teaches that marketing to the retail sector can be tricky for big corporations too- we only hope that Pepsi will not give up in their attempt to offer to consumers a healthier and greener cola.

The Ecoacquisti Trentino brand has finally born

The Ecoacquisti Trentino project aims to the reduction of the waste produced in Retail Stores and raises awareness on a more environmental friendly purchase in more than 100 outlets in the city of Trento area (Italy)

But what does it mean in practice "eco shopping?" Means that in the stores that have received this certification you can find canvas bags or other reusable materials, empty cartons to bring your purchases at home, rechargeable batteries, cold cuts and cheese in a ply-separable paper, fruits and vegetables packaged in compostable bags, bottles of water, wine or milk can be purchased in re-fillable containers.You can alsobuy food with special discounts in last-minute market or donate them to charitable organizations.

The project aims to the reduction of the amount of waste, the promotion of recycling practises, requires a constant audit of the POS and sustains educational projects through school and extracurricular activities. (Courtesy of Alternativa Sostenibile)