Stora Enso equips Unilever’s Ingman ice cream with recyclable paperboard packaging
27 Feb 2020 --- Stora Enso will be packaging Unilever Finland’s Ingman ice cream in its Performa Cream 1L paperboard cartons next month. The move comes amid the food giant’s ambitions to cut its environmental footprint by 50 percent in ten years. Replacing standard PE coating, Stora Enso’s plant-based PE Green barrier coating will help Unilever reduce their use of fossil-based materials and reduce waste. With its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Mix label, the ice cream cartons also provide clear recycling instructions to consumers, as renewability and recyclability is now a predominant theme across the packaging industry.
“PE Green coating makes it possible to use packages made of totally renewable raw materials. This is not limited to frozen foods, but packages where moisture barriers on top of the paperboard are needed,” Jaana Keskitalo, Product Manager, Packaging Materials Division tells PackagingInsights.
From a packaging material supplier point of view, there were no real R&D challenges, she continues. “PE Green has the same functional and barrier properties as fossil-based PE. The transition from plastic to paperboard does not affect the ice cream content in texture, taste or odor. Performa Cream, PE Green and all Stora Enso packaging materials intended for food end uses are safe to use.”
Performa Cream is a polyethylene-coated GC2 board with a three-layer fiber construction and chemi-thermomechanical pulp (CTMP) in the middle layer. Its top pigments are coated thrice and the reverse cream side is coated with transparent PE.
Meanwhile, PE Green coating covers the entire inside of the package without having the ice cream touch the paperboard. In this way, the ice cream remains safely frozen during the time it is in the freezer. For consumers concerned about the ice creams’ time spent outside of freezers, Keskitalo assures that there is “no difference in the packaging performance on the way from shop to home freezer.”
Reach out for bigger ideas
Unilever approached Stora Enso with the need for preventing single-use plastic waste in ice cream packaging. “This material came up in our meeting together with Unilever where they described their needs for packaging materials and we told about our latest developments,” Sari Häkli, Stora Enso’s Head of Brand Owner Accounts, Packaging Materials Division, also tells PackagingInsights.
The launch marks Unilever’s latest sustainable ice cream packaging design in collaboration with Stora Enso. Last August, the latter provided compostable paperboard packaging for Unilever’s branded Carte d’Or ice cream, available in Italy. After use, it can be either recycled or composted in industrial composting.
Unilever’s ice cream brand Solero also launched a wrapper-less multipack that can be widely recycled in the UK. The built-in compartments enable the individual ice creams to be packaged without a plastic wrapper. Stora Enso has previously tinkered with paper cups for ice cream, as well as hot and cold drinks, without the need for a traditional plastic coating layer.
“Unilever’s sustainability agenda matches our company targets to replace plastics with renewable and recyclable packaging solutions. We are in continuous contact on current and new solutions,” Häkli affirms.
By Anni Schleicher
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