Bosch Packaging Technology presented a new paper pod concept called Pearl at the Pack Expo in Las Vegas this week. The food-safe packaging uses a 3D-formable material developed by the Swedish company BillerudKorsnäs.
The two companies created Pearl by processing BillerudKorsnäs’ FibreForm material on Bosch machinery. Hein van den Reek, business director, solutions at BillerudKorsnäs said this week that his company initially came up with FibreForm to challenge conventional packaging and reduce unnecessary plastic.
Trays made from FibreForm have been approved for food contact and are being used to package cheese, meat, and fish in European retail stores, according to the company. A life-cycle assessment by the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) comparing the paper-based trays with plastic ones found that FibreForm requires less energy to produce than plastic, BillerudKorsnäs reported. The company also says their trays are recyclable in most European countries.
One of Bosch’s goals in using the 3D-formable paper for primary packaging is to present an alternative to plastic. “Sustainable packaging requires new solutions at a number of levels,” said Torsten Sauer, project manager for sustainability at Bosch Packaging Technology. “We are developing and testing various approaches and are already implementing concrete projects with customers.”
In recent years, a number of food and beverage brand owners worldwide have been working to improve the overall sustainability of their packaging. In February, the Danish international cooperative Arla Foods introduced FSC-certified unbleached natural wood milk cartons. Over the summer, organic nut butter producer Justin’s collaborated with ProAmpac on a high-barrier food pouch containing post-consumer recycled materials.
Identifying affordable high-performing alternatives to disposable packaging remains a major hurdle for many companies, though.
“The most daunting and urgent challenge we’re facing is around sustainable packaging,” Alyssa Harding, corporate social responsibility manager for Justin’s, told Environment + Energy Leader this year. “Everyone has different requirements for oxygen, moisture, shipping. Packaging has to do so many things.”