Nestlé launches stainless steel packaging for DRS in Germany
13 Feb 2023 --- Nestlé is testing reusable stainless steel containers provided by Germany-based Circolution, for its Nesquick cocoa brand. “Anita in Steel” will be introduced in Germany and integrated into the country’s deposit return scheme (DRS).
Circolution rents the containers to Nestlé for a packaging-as-a-service fee and tends to the cleaning, inspection and transport. The company also provides data to Nestlé for measuring the environmental impact of the products.
Circolution says that Anita can ecologically beat disposable packaging made of glass and plastic.
The companies state that DRS is expanding into the metal industry with DRS-compatible stainless steel. The system “makes it easy for consumers to save on packaging: buy their favorite product and return the packaging after consumption via the normal deposit machine.”
“Our system focuses on standardization and is open to all food producers – large or small, organic or conventional, brand or private label. This is very important to us, otherwise, reusable packaging makes no sense,” says Max Bannasch, co-founder and CEO of Circolution.
“Anita in Steel” has a gas-tight seal for food with a long shelf life. Its large-area labels allow brands to differentiate themselves while consumers are informed about the new reusable system.
“The packaging experts at the Nestlé Product and Technology Centre for Milk in Konolfingen, Switzerland, developed the stainless steel containers together with Circolution. The Nestlé team was responsible for product protection, laboratory testing and preparation for production,” says Bernd Büsing, head of packaging at Nestlé Germany.
After approximately five life cycles, the ecological impact is equivalent to that of non-returnable glass packaging. However, since the stainless steel cup will live another 75 times, 75 non-returnable glass packaging will not be needed. Therefore, “Anita in Steel” can save about 36 kilograms of glass and five kilograms of plastic.
However, even though steel promotes a promising reusable solution, Circolution describes itself as material-agnostic and open to new shapes and sizes. The company is working on many packaging modules to offer reusable alternatives “where it makes sense.”
Anita is currently working with three brands in practice: “Nesquik” from Nestlé, “Hoppenworth & Ploch” and “BE. AN.”
Germany has a fixed deposit of €0.25 (US$0.27) for single-use containers and between €0.08 (US$0.08) and €0.15 (US$0.16) for reusable bottles for its DRS. That money is returned when customers return the bottles to machines in grocery stores.
Circolution states that its product is compatible with the existing deposit machines in supermarkets.
After return, the containers are automatically cleaned, checked and delivered for a new life cycle. The packaging is digitally recorded at each circulation station to optimize logistical processes and financial and ecological efficiency.
Nestlé says Anita can “make a massive contribution to eliminating the waste problem,” referring to the current issues in plastic pollution and single-use products with a lack of reusable options in the packaging industry.
Partners and plans
Amcor provided the sealing film ALUFIX for the stainless steel containers, which ensures the integrity of the product, saying the “film leaves no residue, which is pleasant for consumers on the one hand and allows the container to be resealed after cleaning on the other.” Avery Dennison aided in the labeling material that is completely removable from the container during washing.
The second phase of the Nesquick launch will test the acceptance among customers. The companies will monitor how Hessen, Germany, will react to the product and the scheme.
Circolution plans to bring additional products from the overall coffee and cocoa category in the Rhine-Main, Germany region in the third quarter of 2023 in supermarkets.
The company is now looking for manufacturers in the subcategories of ground or soluble coffee, mixed drinks, coffee substitutes, Italian espresso, Turkish coffee and raw cocoa. Once the regional pilot phase has been completed, Circolution says it will roll out the system throughout Germany.
Edited by Sabine Waldeck
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