HKS can introduces wood-based plastic for part of its product packaging in Finland
Utilising wood-based packaging plastics is a step towards carbon neutrality for an entire food chain. This is the aim of HKScan’s Zero Carbon climate plan. HKScan’s co-operative partners in this venture include the wood-based plastics developer Woodly Oy and packaging film producer Wipak.
HKScan is taking great strides towards carbon neutrality. Product packaging is one key area of focus in the company’s efforts to achieve this goal.
“HKScan is renewing its packaging to make it even more responsible. Our goal is to ensure that all our packaging is recyclable by the end of 2025, at the latest. At the same time, we aim to reduce the carbon footprint of our packaging by 20 per cent and the amount of packaging plastics by 20 per cent from the levels in 2019”, states Markus Gotthardt, VP, Commercial for HKScan in Finland.
HKScan has the exclusive right to use Woodly® materials in select product categories
To replace its fossil plastics, HKScan is working co-operatively with Woodly Oy, a Finnish company developing a new type of plastic based on wood cellulose. As a result of this co-operation, HKScan will be the first company to have exclusive rights to use the wood-based Woodly® plastics in the meat product category in Finland. The company will utilise the plastics on select grilling sausage packages during the coming summer.
“By using the carbon neutral Woodly® component, we will reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of the ready packaging film by more than 50 per cent in comparison to traditional plastic packaging”, explains Gotthardt.
The main raw component in Woodly® materials, namely coniferous cellulose, comes from certified, sustainably managed coniferous forests. The renewable aspect of the material makes it a viable option to replace packaging materials made from fossil ingredients. Packaging film made from Woodly® materials is manufactured and refined for HKScan’s use by Wipak, a company operating as part of Wihuri Group in Finland. Woodly®-based packaging materials are recycled as plastics.
Carbon neutrality calls for comprehensive solutions
The reduction of plastics in packaging and the shift to packaging materials that are made from renewable materials and have a higher level of recyclability also correspond to the expectations placed on the food industry by consumers. Over the past few years, HKScan has invested heavily in the planning of its packaging and optimal use of packaging materials. For example, we have changed our minced meat packaging to bag packs, which enabled us to reduce the amount of plastics by 71% in comparison to traditional box packs.
“While it is vital for us to develop the environmental friendliness of our packaging, it is also important to remember that the primary purpose of packaging is, however, to protect and preserve foods and to reduce food waste. Woodly® materials meet these criterias”, Gotthardt emphasises.
HKScan’s target is to grow into a versatile food company. With over 100 years of experience, we make tasty, healthy and responsibly produced food responding to the needs of consumers and customers. For us at HKScan, responsibility includes the development of food production throughout the value chain, from farms to consumers. Our home markets cover Finland, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltics. Our nearly 7,000 HKScan professionals ensure tastier life – today and tomorrow. Our diverse product portfolio includes poultry, pork and beef, as well as meat products and meals. Our strong brands are HK®, Kariniemen®, Via®, Scan®, Pärsons®, Rakvere®, Tallegg® and Rose®. In 2019, net sales of the publicly listed HKScan totalled EUR 1.7 billion.
Woodly Oy is a Finnish company developing materials technology, whose commercial product is a new type of plastic based on wood cellulose – Woodly®. Woodly® material has the same characteristics as conventional fossil plastics but with the added benefit of being carbon neutral and recyclable. In addition to packaging, it can be used to produce products for different uses.
Wipak specializes in high-end packaging solutions and services for perishable food products, as well as sterile healthcare supplies and devices. Wipak aims to become the most sustainable flexible packaging company – with a promise to reduce our carbon footprint by 2025. Wipak is part of the family owned Wihuri Group in Finland, whose origins trace back 100 years. Today, the Wihuri group comprises 5,000 employees with operations in 30 countries. Wihuri’s packaging business is one of the world’s leading producers of packaging materials and solutions for the Food and Medical Supply industries in Europe and North America. Wihuri’s Packaging Division consists of two international brands: WIPAK in Europe and Asia and WINPAK in North America.