VOLUME 15.2 – 2020
CAN DIGITALIZATION LOWER CARBON FOOTPRINT OF PACKAGING MATERIALS? EXPLORING OPTIMIZATION OF PERFORMANCE AND EFFICIENCY WITH SIEMENS
INTERPACK • P&G HOMECARE STRATEGY • SAVE FOOD ZEITGEIST • PHARMA DISPENSING • COCA-COLA ON SUSTAINABILITY
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VOLUME 15.2 – 2020
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3 Editorial Libby Munford 4 Evolving monomaterials Siemens talks digitalization 11 Pharma dispensing Safety, security and sustainability 17 P&G Homecare sustainability perspective 23 Save Food at interpack The food waste zeitgeist 27 interpack Major fields of action 31 Canned water & wine Disrupting tradition in the beverage market? 37 E-commerce Tackling the challenges 41 Coca-Cola The sustainability interview 48 On second thoughts... Coronavirus: What’s bugging me
oronavirus: the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. The gravity of the issue is becoming clearer day by day, with the World Health Organisation announcing (as of 7th March 2020) that the global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000 and is rising rapidly. Italy is on lockdown and it’s likely that by the time you read this magazine several other countries follow suit. As a safety precaution, there have been a number of event postponements affecting the packaging industry, from across the pond in Asia and the US to impending events around Europe. With less physical meetups and ‘shaking of hands’, will the lack of this small gesture have an impact on progress in the industry this year on a wider scale? At the Packaging Europe headquarters, we are currently talking to industry leaders to gather their insights about how the industry is taking steps to meet these challenging times. We predict likely issues for production and supply chains due to quarantine, self-isolation and sickness and ponder how this pandemic could impact collaboration across our global industry. Trends associated with the sustainability debate have been plunged into question over health implications. For example, Starbucks has announced it is banning reusable cups in response to the virus. Amidst the rising panic amongst consumers, a trip to my local butchers highlighted the issues presented by this global phenomenon in a microcosm. The rise of packaging-free aisles and ‘less packaging’ has been driven forward by sustainability goals, but do hygiene and aseptic conditions trump this trend in challenging times of serious illness outbreaks? Usually a popular butcher shop, the counter remained full towards the end of the day, perhaps due to its non-packaged ethos? Meanwhile, as consumers avoid shopping in public places, is this crisis likely to accelerate the transition to e-commerce? More generally, the value of automation and hermetic packaging is amplified by risks of human contact. By providing a barrier between
Libby White Editor
potential human contact within, for example, the food industry, automation better insulates against staff absence, and maintains aseptic conditions for food more easily. Let’s also focus on this edition which is packed full of progress. Siemens shares how digitalization can be leveraged to evolve monomaterials, an area of particular focus at the moment due to its recyclable properties. We anticipate interpack with insights from a leading provider of packaging solutions into the main trends they expect to explore at the event, and hear about the latest developments in the food waste debate from leading initiative, Save Food. Vicky Hattersley discovers dispensing innovation in the pharmaceutical sector, whilst Elisabeth Skoda explores e-commerce challenges, and Fin Slater delves into the rise of canned water and wine. Elvan Onal, the vice president of homecare for P&G Europe talks to us about their sustainability approach in a conventionally less ‘sustainable’ sector, and Joe Franses of Coca-Cola European Partners chats to Tim Sykes about the different approaches the iconic brand is taking to eliminate packaging waste and reduce environmental footprints. I’d also like to remind our readers that the Sustainability Awards 2020 is still open for entries; don’t forget to submit for free! Winners will be announced in a special awards dinner at the highly anticipated Sustainable Packaging Summit to be held on 15-16 October 2020 in the European n Green Capital, Lisbon. Go to: thesustainabilityawards.com
Libby Munford Libby Munford firstname.lastname@example.org @PackEuropeLibby
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SIEMENS: EVOLVING MONOMATERIALS THROUGH DIGITALIZATION
How can lightweight, flexible packaging with low CO2 emissions be made from recyclable materials? This question is one of the hottest topics in the packaging industry today. Libby Munford discusses with Siemens how digitalization can be leveraged to deliver innovation that facilitates the development of sustainable packaging, illustrated through a collaborative project with Bossar Packaging S.A., a leading horizontal form fill and seal packaging machine designer and manufacturer. With a new machine concept using the latest automation and drive technology from Siemens, Barcelona-based Bossar, alongside Siemens and Scholle IPN, has cracked the code to processing monomaterial film structures with recyclable components for pouches. Demand for monomaterials in packaging has been growing as the industry moves from a linear to a circular economy. The new design offers optimum performance and efficiency as well as increased flexibility.
Maximizing resources Bringing products to the market faster while maintaining the same level of quality is a key paradigm for progress in the packaging industry. Siemens posits that the requirement to achieve these advancements is integrated engineering workflows as well as short changeover and start-up times. Joffrey Schubert, marketing manager, production machines, Siemens shares that creating opportunities for process optimization and know-how retention results in reduced commissioning time and significantly shortened time to market. And virtual commissioning enables comprehensive tests of automation applications and provides a realistic training environment for operators even before the real start-up. Overall digitalization is reducing energy and material during the highly efficient engineering process and modular highly flexible machines can react quickly to market requirements in terms of new environmentally friendly packaging materials and processes. This equals more efficiency throughout the entire lifecycle of manufacturing and process plants. | 4 | Packaging Europe
There are a range of sustainability metrics to consider when developing new solutions, including carbon footprint and recyclability. In order to contribute to its customers’ sustainability goals, Siemens has implemented a system of interconnected processes and tools to ensure full transparency and awareness for its spend, within its supplier base and for its supply chain risks and opportunities. Joffrey Schubert elaborates, “Risk awareness within Siemens Supply Chain Management follows three steps: definition of sustainability risks and categories, identification of the relevant suppliers, development and implementation of necessary procurement processes to cover these risks for example by conducting on-site audits. This creates transparency and awareness.” To collaborate across the value chain to enable more effective sustainability focused innovation, the end-to-end solutions from Siemens’ Digital Enterprise portfolio help customers achieve shorter time-to-market as well as greater flexibility and productivity in their production processes – all while contributing to an increase in the environmental efficiency of their products, plants, and processes. “Digital twins of products, production, and performance help our customers in every part of the discrete and process industries to save resources such as water and energy, to minimize waste, and to reduce CO2 emissions,” says Joffrey Schubert. For example virtual prototypes and product designs help save raw materials and energy. Digitally optimized manufacturing processes, data analytics, and virtual commissioning as well as innovative, integrated drive technologies allow customers to save energy as well as a corresponding quantity of CO2 emissions in the operation phase. He continues, “By monitoring and intelligent analyzing the performance of products constantly and feeding the data back into product design and manufacturing planning in real time, the consumption of resources and the ecological footprint can be constantly optimized throughout their entire lifecycle.”
The Digital Enterprise
What does digital transformation mean for OEMs and end-users? What power do smart factories and smart automation processes have to transform the packaging industry, from small but significant improvements to the overall production process of factories? “More flexible production, greater productivity, and the development of new business models are all possible today thanks to digital solutions,” states Joffrey Schubert. “But the future of industry offers even more potential: cuttingedge technologies will create new opportunities for both discrete and process industries to fulfill their customers’ individual requirements.” The Digital Enterprise solution portfolio enables industrial companies of all sizes to implement current and future technologies for automation and digitalization. Thus, they can tap into the full potential of Industry 4.0 and get ready for the next level of their digital transformation journey. The digital twin is the precise virtual model of a machine or a production plant. It displays their development throughout the entire lifecycle and allows operators to predict behaviour, optimize performance, and implement insights from previous design and production experiences. The comprehensive concept of the digital twin consists of three forms: the digital twin of the product, the digital twin of production, and the digital twin of the performance of both product and production. Thanks to its comprehensive domain expertise and optimized tools, Siemens is able to offer this holistic approach and to create the closed-loop connection between the virtual world of product development and production planning with the physical world of production system and product performance. Through this connection actionable insight is gained from the physical world for informed decisions throughout the lifecycle of products and production operations. With cutting edge technologies such as cloud and edge computing, artificial intelligence, and industrial 5G, Joffrey Schubert says, “users in the packaging industry can make better use of their machines and systems and thus continuously optimize processes, products and production, react faster to changing consumer requirements and produce more sustainably.”
And on that note, a recent collaboration sheds light on how Siemens’ technology can be applied to create a more sustainable future. Flexible packaging is heralded as an ecofriendly alternative to cans, cartons or boxes. Sealed pouches made from film consume less material and, due to their lower weight, save fuel during transport, which leads to a lower carbon footprint compared to rigid packaging made from glass or metal. But flexible packaging such as stand-up pouches has a downside: it is typically made from films that consist of several layers of different types of plastics and often also include aluminium foil, which makes recycling more difficult and contributes to the amount of nonrecyclable plastic waste. The latter aspect has been recognized by the industry, and with many large companies striving to increase their use of fully recyclable packaging, flexible packaging made from monomaterials is attracting increasing interest in the packaging industry. With monomaterials, the biggest challenge is the sealing of the films at high speeds. Monomaterials are fully recyclable, but more difficult to process, and require strict process control and customized equipment. Monomaterials are more difficult to form and seal, requiring an advanced forming, filling and sealing process to ensure packaging quality and performance. For this reason, Spanish packaging machines specialist Bossar Packaging S.A. has been investing heavily in developing, together with Scholle IPN, recyclable solutions for pouches combining monomaterial film structures with recyclable components. One key factor in making recycling-friendly pouches is stringent control of sealing temperature, time and pressure to achieve an excellent seal quality, and this required Bossar’s materials and machine specialists to employ their collective expertise. The result is a novel machine design that consists of a pouch maker and pouch filler. The i-Bossar Pouch Maker (i-BPM) machine seals and cools the pouch in a single step, which reduces the stress on the film. This is especially important for monomaterials such as polyethylene films that are sensitive to stretching: as the pouch maker operates continuously, the films are not stretched during Packaging Europe | 5 |
“Digital twins of products, production, and performance help our customers in every part of the discrete and process industries to save resources such as water and energy, to minimize waste, and to reduce CO2 emissions.”
pouch production. The pouches are then transferred to the new Bossar Clean Filler (BCF) linear pouch filler. By separating the pouch making from the filling and sealing, Bossar can ensure an excellent sealing quality while providing a high level of flexibility to produce multiple pouch formats with minimal changeover time.
Integrated automation In the development of this new machine design, Bossar drew upon an existing machine design that was able to provide the flexibility and performance required for the new process. The new design is based on the company’s line of fully servo-controlled horizontal form/fill/seal (HFFS) machines. The company’s BMS line features a Bossar-patented transmission system for | 6 | Packaging Europe
motion control. This eliminates mechanical parts in the motion system, resulting in a low maintenance, energy efficient machine that is capable of quick format changeovers with reduced film waste. The BMS machines were developed using an integrated automation and drive solution featuring Siemens systems and products. By partnering with Siemens, Bossar was able to design a complete solution for the machine that addresses all aspects of motion control, machine safety, and communication. Standardizing on one integrated architecture helped Bossar streamline the design, reducing engineering expenses and allowing the company to focus on the mechanical and technological challenges in the machine design. The motion control is performed by the Simotion D motion control system. The system not only enables the easy integration and precise control of
the rotative and linear axes but also saves space in the cabinet, thanks to the drive-based design, which helps Bossar maintain a small machine footprint. For the drive systems, Bossar uses Sinamics S120 converters and 1FK7 servomotors to provide both the required high performance and positioning precision. In machines that require a very compact setup, Bossar relies on the Sinamics S120M modular drive system to reduce installation expenses and save additional space in the electrical cabinet. This advanced motion control solution controls all processes and axes of the machine independently of each other, so that parameters such as speed, sealing time, temperature, and pressure can be controlled precisely and, if necessary, corrected immediately. As a result, the pouches have an excellent sealing quality that rivals that of premade pouches. Moreover, the productivity of the servo-controlled machine is up to 10% higher than that of a mechanical HFFS machine. To ensure that the entire process can keep up with the high system performance, Bossar uses the latest Simatic ET 200SP distributed controller with a failsafe 1510 CPU to control the safety and dosing systems. To monitor and control the processes, operators use a Simatic HMI Comfort Panel with an intuitive touchscreen.
Streamlined engineering Having an established technology base helped Bossar develop the new machine design more quickly because the team was familiar with the technology. Bossar was also able to engineer motion control, safety, and general automation using an integrated set of tools, further reducing the time to market for the new machine. For example, Bossar used the Simotion Easy Basics library, which includes a collection of functions and program blocks for the Simotion system for tasks such as error handling, communication diagnostics, cam disc processing, and print mark correction. Using this library saved Bossar valuable time during the implementation of the drive functions while reducing risks and errors. The design quality also extends to the operator interface, where Bossar used the HMI Template
Suite from Siemens to create a modern and intuitive HMI design. As operator efficiency is another crucial aspect in packaging processes, this interface will support efficient and safe operation of the new machine, further improving productivity and machine performance. All these factors contributed to a streamlined development process, ensuring that the new machine would be developed in time for the interpack 2020 trade show, where it will be presented to the industry. From there, the latest addition to Bossar’s line of fully servo-controlled machines will be put to the test in the many industries that the company serves, from pharmaceuticals to foods to detergents and chemicals.
The target: packaging for a sustainable industry Because all plastic packaging within the EU will need to be recyclable or reusable by 2030, this new machine may provide an answer. With its new packaging solution, Bossar provides a resolution to the monomaterials challenge and helps increase the use of recyclable materials for flexible packaging. The company also aims to reduce its products’ carbon footprint wherever possible, and this includes the energy consumption of the machines. Consequently, Bossar uses Simatic ET 200SP AI Energy Meters to monitor energy consumption and uses the line infeed features of the Sinamics drives to recover energy from the drive system in order to reduce the energy consumption of the machines. Bossar’s commitment to delivering packaging solutions that are as ecofriendly as possible also extends to focusing on reducing material usage and weight in components such as spouts, caps, connectors, and plugs, and on reducing packaging material consumption to offer the most efficient productto-pack ratio. Together with the new solution for recyclable polyolefin-based plastic packaging, these features are designed to help manufacturers all over the world make their packaging more ecofriendly while protecting and preserving their products – delivering a better package for the consumer n and the environment. Packaging Europe | 7 |
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DISPENSING AND PHARMA: SAFETY, SECURITY AND SUSTAINABILITY The R&D efforts of Europe’s pharma packaging companies when it comes to drug dispensing systems are focused on several ‘pain points’, among them an aging population, child safety considerations, increasing compliance, product security and sustainability. Victoria Hattersley talks to some industry representatives to find out more about the unique challenges involved in dispensing medications and the different ways their organizations are approaching these. The question of safety The safety of the consumer is of course an important consideration for any area of packaging manufacture, but when it comes to pharmaceutical products, it’s critical. Not only do the drugs themselves have to reach the patient uncontaminated, but there are also aspects such as child safety to bear in mind when dealing with potentially lethal substances. There are many examples of innovation in child-resistant dispensing systems to choose from. Each year at major pharma packaging shows we can see the progress exhibitors are making in this area. At this year’s Pharmapack, Nemera’s Safe’n’Spray™ – a smart electronic delivery concept with child-resistant and locking features – was named the ‘Best Innovation in Drug Delivery Device’. The concept employs a reusable electronic locking unit, child-resistant features and fingerprint identification to monitor drugs delivered and prevent the patient from overdosing. “Safe’n’Spray offers a unique possibility to reuse the ‘SAFE’ electronic part once the ‘SPRAY’ part with the drug is over (eco-friendly on both economic and ecologic sides),” says Pascale Farjas, global category manager for ENT, Nemera. “The fingerprint sensor for patient unique identification acts as an easy and intuitive child-resistant feature, without the need for adding any secondary packaging with a child resistant function. Last but not least, Safe’n’Spray is a connected device, linked with e-Nemera CS, Nemera’s cloud platform. It offers access to patients, healthcare professionals and pharma companies for various services: treatment management, statistical analysis, etc.” Innovation in sterile containment systems that are easy to dispense is also ongoing. To give one example, Jason Stephens, director, Containment Systems R&D at West Pharmaceutical Services, tells us about some of the product launches from his company at Pharmapack. “A new seal called the
Flip-Off® CCS Seal is a ready-to-use, sterile, high-quality capping product for a 5mL Daikyo Crystal Zenith vial. Flip-Off® CCS Seals are manufactured using our TruEdge™ technology and are 100% vision inspected to provide a high-quality seal to maintain container closure integrity and supports a safe, convenient user experience. “International regulatory guidelines have significantly influenced clean crimping processes for drug manufacturers now requiring vial-capping in clean rooms or sterile suites. Use of unsuitable seals can have an impact on clean crimping procedures and create risks for patients. The Flip-Off® CCS Seal is the ideal solution for aseptic crimping as it is manufactured in an ISO 8 clean environment, offering excellent particulate control, limiting risk of contaminates and offering a certification for bioburden.”
Reducing risk for healthcare workers But it’s not just the safety of the patients that has to be considered – there are also risks for healthcare workers and packaging plays its part here, too. According to World Health Organization estimates, each year healthcare workers incur two million accidental needlestick injuries that could result in serious infections
“Packagers must continuously find happy mediums between making packages unopenable for small children but easy to open for older patients who may have dexterity and muscle strength issues.” Packaging Europe | 11 |
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“Increasingly, we have seen that patients are required to administer injections themselves rather than through infusion, for example – which is time-consuming for both the patient and the healthcare provider and can also come with a higher side-effect profile.”
such as hepatitis B and C, and HIV. Delivery systems must be optimized to prevent the spread of such bloodborne diseases as much as possible. “We appreciate that needlestick injuries are a serious concern for healthcare practitioners, so we developed the NovaGuard system to provide care providers with greater control and protection from potentially life-threatening exposure to harmful diseases when administering injections,” says Jason Stephens. He tells us that the NovaGuard SA Pro 1mL device has FDA 510k clearance in the US and meets the European 2010/32/EU directive for the prevention of sharps injuries. Additionally, it can be deployed using a single-handed technique and was designed to prevent pre-activation during the handling of prefilled syringes (PFS). The system is compatible with ISO standard 1mL long glass staked-needle syringes and is transparent for ease of drug extraction, inspection and delivery. “The design also facilitates easy assembly of glass prefilled syringes with minimal change parts and changeover time to existing assembly equipment for manufacturers.” Safety goes hand-in-hand with product security and tamper-evident solutions. “For packaging suppliers, product security should be a multi-pronged approach,” says Martina Christiansen, sales director Tubes, Hoffmann Neopac AG. “For starters, tamper evidence is a key element to discourage counterfeiting or other illegal product diversion from the supply chain. Child resistance and senior friendliness also are factors, as packagers must continuously find happy mediums between making packages unopenable for small children but easy to open for older patients who may have dexterity and muscle strength issues.” Neopac’s Twist’n’use™ Tube is a small-volume single-dose solution that, once the cap is twisted, is irrevocably opened. In addition to tamper-evidence, the tube’s permanently affixed cap emphasizes consumer simplicity and offers accurate application of the enclosed product to the area of treatment.
Latest delivery and dosing trends Some of the relatively recent pharmaceutical trends – precision-focused medicines, subcutaneous delivery – require delivery systems that are designed with patient convenience and higher levels of compliance in mind. Increasingly, we have seen that patients are required to administer injections themselves
rather than through infusion, for example, which is time-consuming for both the patient and the healthcare provider and can also come with a higher sideeffect profile. Biologics are an increasingly widely-used hospital treatment for some long-term medical conditions. These medicines are made from proteins and other substances produced naturally in the body. They are liquids administered either as an infusion in the hospital or by the patient themselves via an injection pen. The rise of biologic therapies presents unique drug delivery challenges. “A critical concern in formulation development is the relationship between API concentration and drug product viscosity,” explains Jason Stephens, director, Container Systems R&D at West Pharmaceutical Services. “Large molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, may result in high viscosities and delivering by traditional means may not be acceptable as it may inflict pain during an injection.” So how can this be addressed without compromising the effectiveness of the biologic? “There are two ways: injecting through a larger gauge needle or by diluting the product to a larger volume, thus reducing the viscosity. Delivering biologics comfortably and effectively via glass containers can be difficult as large molecule drugs require a level of stability that must be considered at every stop of the manufacturing and packaging process. “In cases of a combination product, selecting the right delivery system is essential as early in the drug product development life cycle as possible. Consideration of the tolerances of the various elements from discovery through development is critical to ensure stability and the impact on functional performance of drug product efficacy. In addition, patient comfort, ease of use, onboarding and training must be considered to ensure that the patient adheres to a prescribed therapeutic regimen in the final drug product packaging presentation.” Smart dosing is an important element of today’s pharmaceutical dispensing arsenal when it comes to encouraging self-administering of the newer therapies. West’s SmartDose® platform, for example, allows patients to selfadminister large volumes of medication in accordance with their prescribed Packaging Europe | 13 |
treatment over a longer period of time. The SmartDose® platform adheres to the patient’s body, usually on the abdomen, so patients can be hands off during administration. According to Jason Stephens, the platform is an integrated solution of delivery and containment featuring a silicone-free Daikyo Crystal Zenith® cartridge and a Flurotec® laminated piston containment system. Precision dosing is also relevant for administering treatments to children. For example, babies and toddlers up to three years often require daily administration of 400-600 international units (I.E.) of vitamin D. Considering the product’s frequent use, this makes practical, simple administration all the more important. In 2019, Hoffmann Neopac partnered with Streuli Pharma AG to launch a dropper tube for direct, precision administering of Vitamin D. Seen as a ‘step up’ from standard packaging involving glass vials and pipettes, the solution houses vitamin D in a tube with a metered dropper, resulting in what Neopac says are ‘safer, more accurate dosages’. The dropper system dispenses droplets individually by applying light pressure to the tube. Each drop contains 200 I.E. of vitamin D, which allows easy dosage of both 400 and 600 I.E., according to age phase. The glass-free packaging of D3 piccolo allows it to be directly inserted into the mouth, and makes the package more transportable. Utilizing Neopac’s Polyfoil® 19mm dropper tube with screw cap, the solution features a special insert on the dropper mechanism designed for liquid, serums or oily content. This helps to ensure accurate dosing by adjusting the mechanism to the proper bulk texture for ideal drop size.
What’s to come? We could spend much longer looking at the most recent dispensing innovations that have been introduced – more time than we possibly have for a single article. But what about the future? We asked each of our interviewees if there are any trends they could pinpoint that they would expect to drive R&D efforts moving forward. Digitalization seems to be a big talking point. Martina Christiansen: “Digitalization – and the flexibility this brings –will take centre stage. This spring, Neopac is introducing DigitAll360°, a new directto-shape digital decoration service for tubes. DigitAll360° was developed to address growing industry demand for high-quality variable printing, precision color matching, flexible batch sizes and expedited delivery.” Derek Hindle: “In recent years further steps have been taken towards electronic patient records. Therefore, primary packaging and drug delivery systems need to consider the integration of electronic sensoring units which can forward medication intake, for example. Thus, the interface and the compatibility of the primary packaging with electronic components is a crucial issue when n considering new designs for primary packaging.”
The sustainability challenge The question of sustainability has not always factored as strongly in pharmaceutical packaging as in other sectors – perhaps because safety and efficacy have to be the paramount concerns when it comes to dispensing. That said, the industry is aware of the need to reduce material use where possible and to come up with the most environmentally friendly solutions without compromising utility. “Sustainability certainly presents a particularly vexing challenge to the pharma sector, because the problem becomes one of maintaining premium barrier protection,” says Martina Christiansen. “Together with CEFLEX and tubespecific packaging stakeholders, Neopac is currently working on proper design criteria for improved recyclability, and on new concepts to achieve the required barrier properties within the elevated eco-expectations of today’s consumers and updated industry guidelines. There are also regulatory barriers to contend with. “While the use of innovative sustainable materials is appreciated from an environmental view, the implementation of new materials is highly challenging from a regulatory perspective,” explains Derek Hindle, marketing and innovation director, Berry Bramlage. “New materials are subject to extensive examination by regulatory authorities. Due to insufficient clinical data, many documents of evidence must be provided. The lack of data on the safety of the material can therefore significantly prolong the approval process of the product.” When it comes to government recyclability guidelines, pharma will most likely remain in the ‘speciality’ packaging category, since recyclers do not want too many active pharma ingredients in their recycling streams; and of course, as already mentioned above, the other reason for this is that product safety still remains the number one priority. Packaging Europe | 15 |
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SUSTAINABILITY PERSPECTIVE: P&G SHARES HOLISTIC INSIGHT INTO THE HOMECARE MARKET The word sustainability is readily applied across the food, beverage, and personal care packaging sectors, but would you associate it strongly with the homecare market – which is conventionally less prominent in its ‘green’ product offering? Libby Munford questions Elvan Onal, vice-president of homecare for P&G Europe, about the corporation’s sustainability strategy for household products, to uncover how this sector is approaching the issue. LM: P&G has announced it will more than double the amount of recycled plastic in its packaging for household cleaning in Europe by early 2020. Can you please tell me more about your strategy – is recycled plastic the key objective, and does carbon reduction come into your packaging strategies? EO: P&G homecare products sustainability strategies are based on the ISO Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which looks at a product carbon footprint in a holistic way – from ingredients sourcing to production, to the in-use phase until the ‘end of life’. Often, consumers may believe packaging has the biggest impact for a household cleaning product: our LCA shows that for products like dish washing liquid, dishwasher detergent and cleaning liquids, the biggest CO2 impact comes in the in-use phase due to the amount of hot water in use. Thus, we are creating top-performing products that enable a more sustainable, efficient
clean. For example, Fairy hand dishwashing soap, Mr. Proper and Flash are formulated to work best at low temperatures, saving energy. Lowering the washing-up water temperature from 46 degrees (average UK washing-up temperature) to 30 degrees can help consumers save up to 50% of the carbon footprint of the entire washing liquid product. In Europe 75% of consumers pre-wash before loading the dishwasher: Fairy automatic dishwashing liquid cleans tough food without needing a pre-wash, resulting in water and energy saving. By stopping pre-rinsing up to 1.300 million litres water can be saved annually across Europe.
LM: Could you comment on the specific challenges faced by the homecare brands compared with other brands within the P&G portfolio when it comes to meeting packaging sustainability targets? EO: We are proud to be contributing towards achieving our P&G Corporate goals. As part of Ambition 2030, our overarching company vision is to reduce our use of virgin plastic by 50%. This announcement puts the Dish and Surface Care teams on a clear path to support our broader company goals.
LM: Are there any potential drawbacks / challenges to overcome in using recycled plastic? EO: The biggest challenge today is the supply of recycled plastic, so we encourage all consumers to recycle as much as possible. We are also doing our part to enable simpler and easier recycling systems by partnering with other organizations to help develop municipal waste management infrastructures, especially in countries having the greatest contribution of plastic pollution and ensuring the infrastructure supports recyclability and recycled plastics in the recycle stream.
LM: This commitment will impact all European production – could you please tell me about the factors that you needed to consider when making this decision, for example overall efficiencies, transportation (where will you source the material from?), and demand and supply? Packaging Europe | 17 |
“The biggest challenge today is the supply of recycled plastic available, especially post-consumer recyclate, so we encourage all consumers to recycle as much as they can.” soap bottles supplier) and Polyrecycling (PCR recycled resin supplier) to deliver light weighted bottles as well as including 100% recycled PET, helping us to reduce our virgin plastic usage.
LM: In the UK, Fairy is converting its bottles to 100% post-consumer recycled content (PCR) in its most popular sizes. Flash and Viakal are converting to 100% recycled plastic in its white and transparent bottles and 50% post-industrial resin (PIR) in all translucent bottles. What are the different concerns/ issues you have faced regarding switching to PCR, recycled plastic or PIR across different bottle types, from transparent to translucent? EO: As said the biggest challenge today is the supply of recycled plastic
EO: In order to achieve our goals and continue to lower our overall footprint, we take into consideration the technical challenges, material availability and quality, and supply chains needed to keep, maintain and improve our efficiencies. To note, our continued effort to increase the use of recycled content in our household cleaning products in Europe is another step towards reaching this vision.
LM: What Life Cycle Assessment methodology do you employ? EO: We use Life Cycle Assessment that is ISO 14040, a standardized methodology for environmental sustainability assessments. As an industry leader, we use the leading industry standards and will continue to do so to evolve and improve our footprint.
LM: Are you able to tell me about your partnership with material suppliers and packaging experts in your journey towards creating a more sustainable future? How do you plan for the future? EO: We collaborate with all stakeholders to help drive impact faster. We’re investing in innovation to advance and scale new technologies – like PureCycle for chemical recycling – that minimize waste, make recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics. Coalitions and partnerships like HolyGrail, Materials Recovery for the Future, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste bring together dozens of companies working together to develop, accelerate and scale up solutions. That’s why we welcome any and all companies to join us in helping to address the challenge in a globally coordinated and transformative way. We also established long-term partnership with suppliers. For example, we have been working for many years with Logoplaste (our dishwashing
available, especially post-consumer recyclate (PCR), so we encourage all consumers to recycle as much as they can. Our aspiration is to widen this initiative to all our Fairy, Mr. Proper, Viakal and Flash bottles depending on the recycling infrastructure available to ensure a fully closed loop recycling process at end of life for our bottles.
LM: Can you please tell me about the consumer experience and demand in relation to using less virgin plastic in your packaging? We have seen an explosion in the food industry for ‘sustainable’ packaging, but not conventionally from the household cleaning brands market which traditionally has a less ‘sustainable’ ethos. Why do you think that is? Is there a correlation between a consumer demand for ‘sustainable’ products (such as in the food market) and ‘sustainable’ packaging? EO: Consumer delight is at the heart of our innovation strategy. We take into account growing consumer concerns, like plastic waste. Addressing the plastic waste issue is an industry-wide responsibility. It’s great to see a critical mass of companies working towards common objectives that help to create consistency and scale, but we need to drive progress faster. At P&G we’re working aggressively against our stated packaging goals. We’re committed to delivering the 50% reduction goal globally by 2030, across our brands, via light weighting, increasing recycled content, driving conversion to more concentrated product forms, and when it makes sense, using alternative materials.
LM: One trend we have seen growing in homecare products is a rise in refill systems with concentrates eliminating unnecessary shipping of water. Are you developing solutions of this type? EO: While we cannot comment on future innovation, we are working towards our company-wide 2030 Brand Ambition goal to reduce the amount of virgin plastic in our packaging by 50% by 2030. In order to n achieve this, we are looking at all options possible. Packaging Europe | 19 |
THE FOOD WASTE ZEITGEIST Bernd Jablonowski, global portfolio director, processing & packaging at Messe Düsseldorf, and director of the Save Food initiative shares with Packaging Europe how it has gained a huge trajectory of growth over the past few years. Save Food is a joint initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Environment Programme, Messe Düsseldorf, and interpack.
hen we launched Save Food together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations at interpack 2011, the topic of food loss and waste was not that present in the public. In the following years, many activists and initiatives committed themselves to improve the situation. Politicians became more aware of the issue too and therefore campaigns and laws with the aim of reducing food waste followed – such as the law in France that larger supermarkets are not allowed to throw away good food easily anymore. Don’t get me wrong here: I am not saying that it was us who triggered all this, but we hit the zeitgeist in 2011. With the changed awareness in the public, the initiative grew up to more than 1,000 members from industry, associations, NGOs and research institutes. We used the membership fees of the industry members to finance studies on food loss in Kenya and India to evaluate where there might be a leverage point for measures. Members of the initiative started the Mango Project in Kenya, where a local producer of dried mangoes was supported and equipped to preserve
otherwise spoiled fruit by drying and packaging them properly. We also held several conferences tackling the problem and its facets at interpack 2014 and 2017 as well as in Switzerland and Spain in the years in-between.
Biggest challenges in the battle against food waste Despite the increased public awareness, engagement from companies, politicians and NGOs, the problem persists at a very high level. There are no new figures to quantify the problem globally and the existing numbers are also estimates, but the one third of food lost and wasted stated by the FAO at the start of Save Food is probably still not very far away from the truth. The reasons vary. Generally, it has to be distinguished between food waste, which more often occurs in western societies due to poor meal planning, oversupply and comparatively cheap food and food loss on the other hand. The latter is a pressing problem in developing countries which lack modern harvesting methods and proper infrastructure for transportation, cooling and storage. In both cases, packaging can contribute to a reduction in food loss and waste. Packaging Europe | 23 |
In developing countries, it is basic and appropriate solutions which enable safe storage and protection against often extreme climatic conditions. This allows for the protected transport of food to places more distant than the next market, for example for processing. This creates a foundation for economic development of entire regions. At the same time, longer shelf-lives of processed and packaged foods make it possible to supply the increasing number of people in growing cities. On the other hand, the way to solve the problem of food waste in western industrial nations is primarily by changing people’s behaviour, as the consumer is the main cause in this case. For this reason, the most effective measures are to increase the regard for food, create a general consciousness of the problem of wasted food Bernd Jablonowski
and impart knowledge on the methodical purchasing, storage and consumption of food. Intelligent packaging which tells that its content is still fine for human consumption, no matter what the best before date says, is a suitable measure to support the behaviour-centred approach. Apart from that, packaging that guarantees a longer shelf life really does help, too. Of course, packaging itself has to be as sustainable as possible. However, especially in the current sustainability discussion, people tend to forget that food packaging preserves its content from spoiling. If you reduce the packaging, compromising this function, leave it off completely or substitute existing materials by ostensibly more sustainable materials, which may be worse in preventing spoilage, then more resources are lost in the end than are saved.
The Save Food Festival The Save Food Festival brings the topic of Save Food to the city of Düsseldorf and addresses the public for the first time. The reasons for this step are those I have just mentioned before. The SAVE FOOD festival has been postponed until 25 February to 3 March 2021. Its core elements include an interactive exhibition, conferences and the presence of start-ups. The latter are part of the Start-up Week Düsseldorf, an event that comprises around 130 events, workshops and pitches, which will take place at various locations throughout Düsseldorf. Specifically, the conference section and the ideas of the involved startups are a good source of inspiration for the professionals at interpack. There will be a shuttle available between the trade fair grounds and the n Rheinterrassen so that the venue can be easily accessed.
“Despite the increased public awareness, engagement from companies, politicians and NGOs, the problem persists at a very high level.” Packaging Europe | 25 |
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MAJOR FIELDS OF ACTION AT INTERPACK Libby Munford caught up with Christian Traumann, group president, MULTIVAC ahead of interpack to hear the perspective of a leading provider of packaging solutions on the main trends it expects to explore on the show floor across the food, life science and healthcare sectors.
LM: Multivac has spotlighted sustainability, digitalization, and automation
Automation: An ever increasing number of fresh and processed food
as the main focuses for its stand at interpack. Can you talk me through each trend â€“ what are the main challenges and demands from your customers in each category, and how are you innovating to meet these?
products have to be manufactured and packed. But it has become more difficult to find suitable or qualified staff. At the same time, hygiene and quality requirements are increasing. Automation solutions can provide one way out of the dilemma. However, compared to other sectors, the food industry overall still has a relatively low degree of automation. The main cause of the very subdued rise in the degree of automation in the food sector lies with the products that are processed: here it is a case of natural and often delicate products, which can spoil very easily. The packaging procedure in all its different parts has to be tailored individually to the product, its shape and its specific characteristics. It is therefore very difficult, or in many cases barely possible, to standardize the procedure. The possible areas of use for automation solutions within the packaging procedure extend from product infeed and loading right up to pack inspection and secondary packaging or palletizing at the end of the line. Automation is however only sensible if the degree of automation is tailored to the needs of the company, and is economically viable. Last but not least, we also see an enormous potential for automation solutions in the life science and healthcare industry. The ever-increasing complexity of medical devices requires a correspondingly increasing degree of automation of both production and packaging processes. For us, this results in the task to develop and offer complete solutions that can map the increasingly complex tasks with the highest degree of process reliability.
CT: Sustainability: The EUâ€™s Plastics Strategy, as well as national legislation deduced from it, are driving developments in the market, through which fully functioning recycling loops are to be implemented, and also alternative materials are developed, which can better meet the requirements of a closedloop system. By using different material and packaging concepts, manufacturers can make an important contribution to meeting the current market demands with regard to the implementation of a circular economy. In order to implement sustainable packaging concepts in the food industry, it is essential to view the entire added value chain holistically, from the manufacturing stage through the logistics chain and right up to use by the consumer. In addition to the introduction of closed recycling loops and the reuse of plastic packs, it is also productive to look at concepts for reducing the consumption of plastics in the production of packs, as well as the options for using alternative packaging materials. Digitalization: Digitalization is an important key to mastering the increasing demands on packing in regard to cost efficiency and sustainability. Today MULTIVAC is already offering companies groundbreaking solutions with a wide range of tools for increasing machine availability and efficiency, and these can be implemented as required on a step-by-step basis. Viewed over the long term, digitalization offers companies great potential, insofar as packaging machines and even complete production lines can be continually optimized through a self-learning process.
LM: interpack is held every three years and the topic of sustainability has exponentially snowballed since the previous event. How far do you think the packaging industry has come, and how can it work together Packaging Europe | 27 |
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using events such as interpack to continue on this journey? When it comes to sustainability, do you think the industry is focusing on the right things?
CT: Above all, packs play a very important role when it comes to product protection and shelf life. The industry is working at high speed on the development of new packaging materials, including mono films, which offer comparable performance and product protection to those made from various different polymers. It should be emphasized, though, that plastic packs have considerable justification in many areas, for example in regard to the ratio of packaging volume to protective function. Therefore, the CO2 loss of food waste might have a higher impact than the CO2 footprint of the package itself. But we should not only have the carbon footprint in mind, but also the loss of other resources as for example water in case that food would be wasted. Today, barely 40% of all plastics are used in the packaging industry. Of this some 40% is recycled, while another 40% is recovered for energy purposes. In view of these figures, there is still a lot of potential in the market with regard to closed loops.
LM: Another big topic of this year’s show is ‘Save Food’. Again, how can your particular segment of the packaging value chain contribute to this all-important subject?
CT: Due to its excellent protective function and a comparatively small volume input, plastic packaging can significantly extend the shelf life of food. It makes a significant contribution to reducing food waste. In complex industries such as the food industry, it is now a matter of protecting food along the entire value chain and logistics chain. Moreover, we are consistently striving to reduce the packaging material used in the production of packs, by utilizing specific equipment options and an optimized pack design. And last but not least, we are working with leading packaging material manufacturers to develop new packaging concepts, such as for example the use of recyclable materials.
the design of packaging that ensures a reduced packaging weight and the processing of packaging materials with a low plastic content. The second area of action concerns the production of recyclable packaging through the processing of alternative packaging materials and the development of a recyclable packaging design. However, the question is, how the use of alternative packaging materials and alternative packaging concepts influences the shelf life of the products – and how product protection can be ensured by the entire process chain, for example, of foodstuff. In regard to packaging solutions, innovative packaging solutions use energy-efficient servo drives, sensors or tool changing systems, which not only guarantee an extremely efficient packaging process, but also have a positive impact on the energy balance of the packaging process.
LM: As a veteran of interpack, can you give me your opinion on how packaging machinery has advanced over the years, and how does interpack encourage innovation, competition, and progression? What are the biggest benefits for a company such as yourselves of attending this event? CT: Over the years, packaging machinery has advanced in terms of the packaging material used, e.g. the film thickness has been reduced significantly and innovative concepts for sustainable packaging have been introduced. Also, IoT has found its way into the construction of packaging solutions. interpack encourages progression, as many companies develop new innovations in a three-year cycle. As the leading international trade fair for the packaging industry, interpack gives us an opportunity to present ourselves to an international audience as a holistic solution provider for the processing and n packaging of food as well as healthcare and life science products.
LM: MULTIVAC is just one element of a long and complex supply chain, but we have heard a lot about the need for more joined-up thinking and knowledge-sharing along the entire chain if the industry is to achieve its sustainability targets. In your opinion, what are the most promising technologies / approaches to ensure this happens? CT: Not only for MULTIVAC, but for the entire packaging industry, there are two major fields of action: the first concerns the significant reduction of packaging material through the use of suitable machine technologies, Packaging Europe | 29 |
‘TRUE DISRUPTION’: INSIDE THE RISE OF CANNED WATER AND WINE Picture a bottle of wine in your mind. There’s no question that you imagined it to be contained in a single material: glass. The same can be said for bottled water – most consumers nowadays expect their Evian, Volvic or Vittel to come packaged in PET, or some variant thereof. In fact, it’s hard to think of products that are more intrinsically linked to a certain packaging medium than wine with glass and water with PET. Fin Slater reports.
owever, in response to changing consumer attitudes and technological advancements, could the supremacy of these materials for wine and water applications be nearing its end? The fact of the matter is that a new packaging medium for these beverages is starting to gain traction: aluminium cans. While still occupying a relatively small percentage of their respective markets, canned wines and waters are certainly starting to establish themselves. In the UK for example, consumption of canned wine increased 125% in the year to August 2019 – a trend that is broadly reflected in other territories.
Disruptors such as CanO and Liquid Death are leading the way in the canned water sector, while established, respected wine producers such as Coppola and Barefoot now offer their pino grigios and pinot noirs in canned form. Indeed, Mark Satchwell, managing director of Greencroft Bottling says that “canned wine consumption is growing at a rate of approximately 6% year on year in western Europe.” Might beer – a beverage that was once exclusively packaged in glass containers – hold the key to this trend? Despite only being canned for the first time in 1933, canned beer has undeniably become a ubiquitous product.
“Canned wine consumption is growing at a rate of approximately 6% year on year in western Europe.”
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“When walking down a supermarket beverage aisle, the key design difference between bottles and cans becomes obvious.”
So, can the same be said for wine and water – will canned versions of these products soon become as mainstream as canned beer? And, if this becomes a reality, what implications might this have for the wider industry?
The taste test Wine producers expend an enormous amount of time and energy on ensuring that their products taste exactly as they should. Then, when the product is ready to consume, sommeliers are paid good money to ascertain the differences between a tannic Malbec and a gentle one. And, while water is commonly believed to ‘taste of nothing’, factors such as minerality and source do indeed have an effect on its flavour. This begs the question: does the material in which a beverage is packaged have any effect on its taste? In an entirely non-scientific test, my colleagues at Packaging Europe and I could detect no distinct differences between a canned variety of Malbec, when compared with a bottled one. Likewise, perhaps unsurprisingly, we were also unable to taste the difference between bottled and canned water. Tests run by WICresearch, an advocacy group, under more scientific conditions appear to have reached similar conclusions. Of the people surveyed, most preferred the bottled wine they tasted – but only by a miniscule margin. While taste tests like this can be viewed as essentially arbitrary, there are, in fact, a few scientific factors which suggest that canning might aid the flavour of the liquid it is used to contain. Aluminium’s opacity purportedly slows down the rate of sunlight-related oxidation – a phenomenon
which can lead to flavour loss. Moreover, due to its chemical qualities, aluminium chills faster than glass and PET – meaning that your craving for cool water on a hot summer’s day will probably be satisfied sooner by a can of Liquid Death than a bottle of Acqua Panna. That being said, one of the key components of a wine’s flavour – age – can apparently be negatively affected by the canning process. In most cases, it is not recommended that consumers age their wine in cans in the same way that they might with a bottle. However, despite all these conclusions, it’s clear that most consumers (including those at Packaging Europe Towers) are unable to spot the difference.
Design possibilities We’ve ascertained that there is little (if any) variance between the tastes of canned and bottled liquids. But aluminium canning also presents another point of divergence: shelf-appeal. When walking down a supermarket beverage aisle, the key design difference between bottles and cans becomes obvious. Most bottles are decorated with a label or sleeve made of paper or plastic, whereas most cans have designs printed directly onto them – usually either digitally or via a more physical process. Marvin Foreman, sales manager at Tonejet Limited argues that cans are manufactured to a higher precision than their counterparts, meaning that, at least in terms of digital printing, they can be printed on with greater accuracy. Cans are formed by being drawn out from discs, and, because aluminium is relatively soft and pliable, Foreman says that the same diameter Packaging Europe | 33 |
Like other materials, aluminium still faces a few sustainability challenges for which it has to implement concrete solutions.
is achieved every time. With a material like glass, for example, the industrial manufacturing process often involves the blowing of molten glass, and Foreman argues that the resulting shrinkage during cooling can result in inconsistent diameters. This can apparently become a problem during digital printing, a non-contact process that requires the printhead to be mounted at a precise distance away from the bottle. To reduce the risk of collision, “printheads have to be set further away from the bottle surface, which in turn reduces print quality significantly.” As well as similarly being subject to shrinkage, Foreman claims that PET is “inherently flexible and more difficult to move through a printer without deforming the outer surface.” But, according to Foreman, printing directly onto beverage cans presents issues of its own. Most cans are varnished with a Teflon coating that makes it challenging to get ink to adhere. And, in addition to this coating, the external surface of these cans is often contaminated with fibres, particles, dust and oil. Foreman argues that these features mean that companies like Tonejet are “attempting to print onto a very difficult substrate.”
Resource management So, our cans have now been manufactured, designed and consumed – but what about end-of-life, and how might increased demand for different applications affect the sustainability of aluminium as a material? Above all, the aluminium industry prides itself on its strong recycling rate – 74.5% in the EU according to European Aluminium – putting it well above the EU’s Circular Economy Package stipulation of 60% by 2030. Regarding the process itself, David Van Heuverswyn, director of Every Can Counts Europe, claims that it takes an average of 60 days – from collection to the redistribution of fully-recycled aluminium coils. Like glass, and unlike PET, aluminium is a permanent product – meaning that it can be recycled countless times without losing its material characteristics. | 34 | Packaging Europe
However, despite aluminium’s positive qualities in terms of recyclability, like other materials, it has its downsides when the full sustainability picture is considered. Aluminium has impressive recycling rates, but an increased demand for aluminium cans for water and wine applications would obviously necessitate the production of more virgin aluminium – a process that, according to European Aluminium’s own figures, uses 95% more energy than the process of recycling the same material. As Van Heuverswyn says, “even if we would recycle 100% of the cans put on the market, as demand is growing further, virgin aluminium has to be used to fulfil said demand.” It’s no secret that this process – mining and refining bauxite ore into aluminium – causes significant damage to the environment through water pollution, deforestation and carbon emissions, when managed irresponsibly. It’s clear then that the industry as a whole will need to encourage more sustainable practices if it needs to scale up production to meet potential future demand for wine and water applications. The International Aluminium Institute proposes a number of potential solutions to these issues, including the protection of culturally and environmentally significant areas, construction of settling ponds and other drainage control structures, the implementation of rehabilitation measures, and biodiversity management. And according to David Van Heuverswyn “the collection and sorting of used cans need to be further improved, in order to better facilitate can-to-can recycling.” The growth of aluminium cans for the purposes of containing water and wine represents true disruption: an innovation that significantly alters an established commercial reality. However, despite the increasing presence of aluminium in this context, glass and PET still occupy the vast majority of the market. And, until cans reach the peak of their potential in this regard, the ultimate impact that this ascendance might have on taste, design, and n sustainability habits remains to be seen.
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TACKLING THE E-COMMERCE CHALLENGE E-commerce sales have seen impressive growth in recent years, and the trajectory is set to increase even further. With consumer demands growing in line with pack developments, what are the challenges? And what steps are packaging companies taking to stay ahead of the game? Elisabeth Skoda reports.
ackaging for e-commerce needs to withstand a lot of pressure. In its recently launched Rethinking Packaging report, courier giant DHL observes that while brick-and-mortar retailers typically require packaging to be drop-tested from five different angles, leading online retailers may ask for 18 separate drop tests. Future e-commerce innovations are likely to further intensify demands on packaging. According to the report, logistics providers are now on their fourth or fifth generation of drone delivery projects and are exploring delivery with unmanned ground vehicles. Combined with growing demand for unattended delivery formats, packaging will need to evolve to allow items to be left outside the customer’s home, exposed to inclement weather and the risk of theft.
A driver for growth According to statistics from eMarketer, worldwide retail e-commerce sales are set to grow to over 20% of total sales by 2023. China and the USA are leading the way in the area of e-commerce, but western Europe, especially the UK, Germany and France are also developing strongly. Yi Jiang, Amcor’s e-commerce and business development director, says that the company is investing in e-commerce packaging to support customers’ growth agenda. “Our customers recognize that they have to be where the consumers are – and today’s consumers are online a lot. Beyond growth directly from online sales, according to Forrester Research, half of all retail sales in the US are digitally influenced. Therefore, what you do as a brand online is going to influence your offline sales. With that being said, maturity of e-commerce
development can vary greatly from company to company, from category to category. So there is still a lot to learn for brands working with supply chain partners to improve consumer experience in e-commerce.” She explains that supply chain complexity poses a big challenge. “In traditional brick and mortar channels, there are around five points of handling, but there are at least ten in the e-commerce supply chain. Another challenge is demand uncertainty. Consumer feedback comes in quickly. If a customer doesn’t like the product or the packaging, they will share their opinion, so you have to react fast. “Lastly, sustainability and how it is viewed by consumers is a big challenge. Many online consumers are sustainability conscious and are more likely to complain about a pack that’s perceived as not sustainable on Amazon than at their local supermarket. Feedback about product and packaging are amplified. Therefore, a lot of exploration work is needed to optimize a pack for different channels, be it brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce or omnichannel. Packaging companies can support their customers in both the exploration phase and packaging development phase.” While product protection in transit is highly relevant this needs to be balanced with ease of use for the customer. In the brick-and-mortar retail environment, packaging is often designed to thwart theft or tampering, for example by using rigid clamshells with sealed edges. Freed from the need to protect products from shoplifting, e-commerce retailers have encouraged the development of packaging designs that prioritize access with minimal effort, as is observed in DHL’s Rethinking Packaging Packaging Europe | 37 |
report. Consumers are equally intolerant of quality problems. The report states that almost 50% of e-commerce customers said that receiving a damaged item would make them less likely to purchase from the same retailer again.
“A lot of online consumers are more likely to complain about a pack that’s perceived as not sustainable on Amazon than at their local supermarket.” E-commerce only or omnichannel? Amcor’s experts devised a checklist to ascertain whether omnichannel packaging or channel-specific packaging is the best choice. They recommend an omnichannel approach if: a brand already sells high volumes in brick-and-mortar stores, brand consistency across all channels is a requirement, the supply chain is lean and integrated enough to realise the benefits of simplification, and smart packaging can be deployed to make omnichannel packaging more e-commerce savvy. However, channel-specific packaging can be a better choice if: “Disruption from small brands and upstarts in the chosen market is high, you need to experiment and capture growth quickly, tailoring packaging to specific needs of each channel would be beneficial for consumers, i.e. robust e-commerce packaging that reduces leaks and breakage or post box friendly sizes, you want to offer shoppers promotions by channel without direct price comparisons and you can deploy smart packaging to support new business models.” “The majority of our customers currently focus on optimization of a pack for e-commerce, but an increasing number are opting for design-for| 38 | Packaging Europe
e-commerce packaging. An early involvement of the packaging partner in the design and test of the packaging will help accelerate go-to-market in e-commerce,” Ms Jiang adds.
Finding the sweet spot Finding an ideal e-commerce package can involve looking for a compromise. Gavin Mounce, e-commerce design manager at DS Smith points out that although designs have started to change in line with customer demand, the end-users’ expectations have grown just as quickly, if not faster. “Originally, providing protection and delivering on time resulted in a satisfied customer. Then came the introduction of inside print, followed by the unboxing experience, now we’re seeing the latest focus points of connectivity, sustainability, and inclusive designs.” He says that designing for e-commerce used to be a blind process – sending parcels off with a courier to test their capabilities, not knowing if customers would receive them and be able to provide the critical feedback required. Key issues with these methods included not understanding at which touchpoints problems occurred and theorizing as to why the same parcels had completely different levels of damage. Hitting the ‘sweet spot’ when creating a new e-commerce pack design is based on the balancing of several critical focal points – sustainability, product protection, brand alignment, customer experience and inclusive design. Each of these points comes at a cost. For example, sustainability could lead to poor user experience, protection and inclusive design could lead to excessive material use, brand alignment could lead to poor sustainability or recyclability, and customer experience could result in damage during transit. “The importance of each focal point will be led by your customer’s/enduser’s needs, expectations, and aligned with your brand strategy. If your brand is focused on sustainability, then this could be the main area of focus
– a performance solution developed using minimal fibre, for example. Or, your product could be heavy and require further protection, meaning that a customer unboxing experience is not so critical, so your ‘sweet spot’ would have different focal points and target areas,” Mr Mounce says.
A collaborative approach Collaboration is key to understanding what customers’ pain points are and how they can solve the primary packaging challenges they face, says Sara Blum, strategic marketing manager at Amcor. “Given the many touchpoints of e-commerce packaging, optimization of a pack for the least amount of CO2 emissions and space in trucks is key, as well as speed to market. Amcor offers ISTA testing, simulation services, digital printing and partnerships with co-packers to support our customers. With digital simulation, we can explore how a pack would behave, stand and look, depending on the shape/material structure used. We also have the ability to do virtual drop tests and compression tests to find the most effective material structure for a pack.” She highlights the critical role of packaging when it comes to brand awareness and reputation. “When products are online, you cannot touch them and only have a digital view. This requires adaptations in terms of artwork and pack design in order to create the outwards visibility on the smart phones or computers.” In conclusion, as an example for a successful pack optimized for e-commerce, she cites Amcor’s collaboration with Popcorn Shed. “Popcorn Shed required a packaging material that would keep its premium popcorn fresh, was easy for consumers to open, and easy for them to recycle in some European countries. Amcor’s AmLite Standard Recyclable packaging delivered on these three requirements, and the packaging can be recycled in front-of-store crisp packet recycling systems and is suitable for polypropylene recycling where the facilities exist (i.e. Germany). AmLite Standard Recyclable is a line of metal-free, high barrier packaging that can enable brands to create attractively designed packaging while also keeping their product fresh. Thanks to its barrier, it has doubled the shelf-life of Popcorn Shed’s premium popcorn. This has had an impact on the brand’s export and e-commerce opportunities, with global export now accounting for 25% n of the brand’s turnover.” Packaging Europe | 39 |
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Joe Franses of Coca-Cola European Partners chats to Tim Sykes about the different approaches the iconic brand is taking to eliminate packaging waste and reduce environmental footprints.
COCA-COLA TALKS SUSTAINABILITY TS: Tell us a bit about your role – what are your key responsibilities? JF: A couple of words about Coca-Cola European Partners first of all. We are the world’s largest Coca-Cola bottler by revenue – we operate across 30 markets in western and northern Europe and employ 24,000 people across our business. We manufacture products for about 300 million consumers across our markets and also serve about a million outlets. My role is to ensure that our sustainability strategy is headed in the right direction. We work very closely with the Coca-Cola Company in western Europe and we have a joint sustainability action plan called ‘This Is Forward’, which includes targets on water, calorie reduction, science-based carbon reduction and packaging. TS: Let’s home in on your sustainability targets in relation to packaging – can you explain the Coca-Cola Company’s key goals and how they relate to Coca-Cola European Partners’ own strategies and targets?
JF: The good news is that the Coca-Cola Company’s global ‘World Without Waste’ strategy is very closely aligned to our own. And, when you look at the targets, we are focusing on design, recyclability, collection and using recycled content. So, we’re really looking at a very close alignment between the global Coca-Cola strategy and our strategy in western Europe. I think there are some differences, one of these is that we have a slightly more aggressive timeline in western Europe. For example, we want to ensure
that 50% of the plastic we use will be recycled plastic. We said we were going to do this by 2025, but we’ve actually just brought this forward to 2023. The target is slightly longer at a global level – 2030.
TS: Several packaging-related announcements from Coca-Cola have caught our attention in recent times, and these shed some light on how the targets you’re talking about are actually being pursued in real terms. Can you tell us about KeelClip, the paper-based aggregator for multipacks?
JF: For context, one of the things we said we’d do earlier in the year was publish our packaging footprint. We’ve done this – it can be found on our website. This report shows that we put 23 billion packs onto the marketplace each year, four billion of which are actually refillable bottles – both glass and a small amount of refillable PET. We reckon that about a third of all the packs we put onto the marketplace are single-use plastic bottles. We also have cans, glass bottles, and refillable glass bottles, as well as 2.2 billion 500ml servings-worth of product dispensed through fountains and dispenser equipment. All of this means that our packaging footprint is quite varied. Now, when you look across that packaging footprint, we’ve said that we’re willing to ensure that everything we put on to the marketplace is recyclable. At the moment, we believe that about 98% of our primary packaging is recyclable – there’s a small number of packs that are not. By the way, when I talk about recyclability, I’m not just talking about technical Packaging Europe | 41 |
recyclability – I’m also talking about recyclability in practice. This means being compatible with local collection and sorting systems. Regarding KeelClip, one of the commitments that we made earlier in the year was to begin to remove all unnecessary or hard-to-recycle packaging from our portfolio. For example, we found that a very small number of our sleeves and labels that we were using were hindering the recyclability of our primary packs, so we fixed that issue. We also looked at the shrink wrap that we were using. In many of our markets, shrink isn’t collected for recycling and there’s no recycling route for many of our consumers. We announced earlier in the year that we would begin to move away from plastic shrink to 100% recyclable and sustainably sourced board for all our multipack cans. You’re already seeing that in place in some markets and we’re going to begin to do that across all our markets from 2020. This would help us to remove over 4000 tonnes of plastic from our supply chain. It’s critical that we use sustainably sourced board. KeelClip is one of those solutions, and we’re going to be the first to market in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink sector to use it. Initially, we’ll be using it on our 250ml multipack cans in the Netherlands – more markets to follow.
TS: Another announcement that we saw recently was the adoption of 100% recycled PET in the Swedish market. Obviously, this is also in the context of cutting out unrecycled plastic waste, as an important part of recyclability is making sure there’s a market for the recycled materials in the end. Is that how you see this strategy? Joe Franses
JF: You’ve seen the Circular Economy Strategy from the EU Commission and the Single Use Plastic Directive really begin to target some of those forms of plastic that are hard to recycle, and for which there is no collection rate. We believe that, in the long term, there is a place for plastic beverage bottles – but that place is within a circular economy. It’s about ensuring that those bottles and that material has some value, so they don’t end up as litter, they’re not incinerated and – worst of all – they don’t end up polluting our waterways and oceans. We’re the first to recognize as a business that we have a long way to go before our plastic packaging is collected at very high rates and has high levels of recycled content. We’ve also begun to use 100% recycled PET in some of our brands. Earlier in the year we announced that our Honest, Chaudfontaine and Smartwater brands were moving to 100% rPET. Very recently we also announced that Fuse Tea in the Netherlands and our BonAqua brand in Norway were also going to come to market in 100% rPET. In Sweden we’re going one step further still – all our plastic bottles across all our brands will move to 100% rPET. We believe that will be the first market in the world to achieve this. Sweden has a deposit return scheme in place, meaning that very high percentages of our plastic bottles return and can be used again in a circular economy. The pledge that we’ve made around 100% rPET essentially means we are making the commitment to use that material again in our bottles. That is a truly circular future-fit supply chain, and it’s a once-in-ageneration opportunity to make that kind of change in other markets that we’re really determined to do. This, by the way, connects back to our other headline target, which is to collect a bottle or a can for every one we sell – or 100% collection, as we refer to it. TS: You referenced climate commitments and carbon footprint in relation to recycled PET. I was curious as to how the respective carbon and packaging waste commitments feed into the choice of packaging material you make in any particular product category or context?
JF: We’ve been involved in looking at the carbon impact of our packaging for well over a decade. We were one of the first businesses to work with the Carbon Trust, looking at the carbon footprint of individual packages and pack choices we make. We’ve also had science-based carbon reduction targets in place for a long time – we’ve got a target to halve, in absolute terms, greenhouse gas emissions from our core business operations and to cut carbon emissions by 35% across our entire value chain. By the way, packaging accounts for 40% of our value chain carbon footprint, far less than manufacturing, transportation or chilling. What we’ve learned from all of this work is that there is no one perfect “most sustainable” pack. Every pack plays its part and we’ve got to find the most sustainable ways for people to enjoy drinks. For plastic, that means making sure that it’s part of a circular closed-loop economy, but it’s also about making sure that we do this in line with what our planet requires and what our long-term carbon reduction trajectory looks like. Packaging Europe | 43 |
TS: I suppose the facts on the ground are continually changing in terms of the recycling landscape and the footprints of individual packaging materials etc. In what ways do you monitor and respond to these changing situations?
JF: We see a wide variety of collection rates across our markets. If we take a market like Great Britain, we believe that around 59% of plastic bottles already return through the curbside collection scheme. It’s a similar percentage in France, but lower than Spain and lower still than Belgium. But we see that number is around 90% in markets like Germany, Norway and Sweden that have deposit return schemes in place. We’ve taken learnings from all the different types of collection infrastructures that exist across our markets and the answer is simple: the markets that have well-designed deposit return schemes in place have the highest collection rates. That’s exactly why we are now actively supporting the introduction of well-designed deposit returns schemes, because it drives collection, it drives the circular economy and, critically, it enables the highest possible quality feedstock to come through those systems that we can then use as recycled PET back in our bottles. We also want to stay well ahead of European legislation. You’ll be aware that the EU Commission has put in place tough collection targets – 77% collection for beverage packaging by 2025, 90% collection by 2029. At the moment, we estimate – looking at all the numbers we get back from our markets – that somewhere in the region of about 74% of our packaging is already collected through local and national schemes. We’ve just got to do more. TS: You mentioned your support for deposit return systems. One of the criticisms that has been made of that model is that it can siphon off the most valuable and easy-to-recycle materials, such as PET, thereby making curbside recycling less economically viable with a negative impact on recycling rates of other materials. Does that strike you as a concern? | 44 | Packaging Europe
JF: When I go out and speak to NGOs they are rightly concerned about the fact that too much plastic packaging, including our packs, is ending up where it shouldn’t – either as litter or being incinerated or in our waterways. So, we’re focused on putting a workable solution in place for our packaging – both plastic bottles and aluminium cans. For us, that means a well-designed deposit return scheme, which is why we’re strongly advocating for those schemes. I know that there is interest in this waste from waste management contractors. I think there’s a lot of value in waste, irrespective of whether PET bottles or cans are directed through a deposit returns scheme. TS: There are other areas where Coca-Cola has made interesting moves in the last year or so around packaging sustainability. First of all, the refillable bottles space – there was the really innovative project with the University of Reading in the UK with ‘Freestyle’ machines, and reusable bottles getting fitted with smart chips. Is this something you see as a significant part of your ecosystem of options?
JF: In the early days, Coca-Cola was only dispensed via fountains, so creating packaging-free solutions is part of what we do. The Reading trial was interesting – we’ve learned a lot from it and we’ve also got Freestyle equipment that was used at the universities of Reading and Amsterdam that enables us to dispense over 120 different flavours. It also enables the consumer to bring their own bottle to fill, or to take one of the RFID-enabled bottles that we put in place at the University of Reading. So, we’re trialling and testing those schemes. We’re also looking at other refillable options. We’ve been partnering with Carrefour and TerraCycle’s Loop scheme in France to create a new circular shopping platform that’s really allowing consumers to have our iconic glass bottles, along with many other different brands, delivered directly to home. The empty bottles are then packaged up, collected, cleaned, refilled and reused.
TS: A final area of innovation I wanted to talk about was the PlantBottle with
TS: I’d like to hear about the kinds of collaborations that you require, both
bioplastic content. Is this something that’s still a major part of your agenda?
across the industry and bilaterally with your suppliers in order to drive the changes that you need to see.
JF: PlantBottle has been really successfully used across multiple markets and in a number of our brands for a few years. It’s 100% recyclable and essentially enables PET to be partially made out of plant-based material. At the moment, we’re focusing very much on recycled PET, but we wouldn’t count out using more plant-based material in the future.
JF: We’re very clear that none of this agenda happens without our suppliers. For example KeelClip was brought to us by one of our suppliers. One thing we’re really excited about is emerging ‘enhanced recycling technologies’ which can turn hard-to-recycle plastics into food-grade recycled PET.
“We believe that, in the long term, there is a place for plastic beverage bottles – but that place is within a circular economy. It’s about ensuring that those bottles and that material has some value, so they don’t end up as litter, they’re not incinerated and – worst of all – they don’t end up polluting our waterways and oceans.”
Packaging Europe | 45 |
We’ve got many strong strategic relationships with PET suppliers in the traditional mechanical space. We’ve got a long-term supply agreement in place with Loop Industries. The Coca-Cola company has also been supporting the industrial scale-up of the Ioniqa-owned enhanced recycling plant in the Netherlands. Working with partners – as well as with one of our long-term PET suppliers, Indorama – has not only enabled us to transition some of our brands to 100% rPET, it has also helped us to make a prototype bottle made partially out of ocean plastics that have been recovered through one of our Circular Seas programmes called Mares Circulares in Spain. It will really help us recycle plastic back into food-grade PET in the long-term and, critically, help us to avoid more and more virgin plastic. Whenever you use recycled PET, you avoid the use of virgin plastic. Even our transition to 100% rPET on our Chaudfontaine, Honest, and Smartwater brands has allowed us to avoid 9000 tonnes of virgin plastic. But, let’s also remember that it’s not only about innovation – there are some other really simple things we can do. Another example: in the last year we moved Sprite from a green PET bottle to a clear PET bottle. Now, why did we do that? It wasn’t because green PET isn’t recyclable, but that clear PET is recyclable bottle to bottle. Green has been integral to Sprite for many years, but by making a relatively simple change all
of that clear material can be recycled and used again in Sprite and other bottles. As the advertising campaign says: ‘clear is the new green’.
TS: And has the consumer response to this been positive? Obviously, you need to take the consumer with you, and this can only be environmentally sustainable if it’s financially sustainable.
JF: Our consumers want us to be doing the right thing. We’re also beginning to use our brands to really encourage and inspire people to recycle more. We’ve recently launched a campaign in Great Britain called ‘Round in Circles’. We also held a campaign over the summer in Belgium and the Netherlands where we were conveying the message to consumers that they shouldn’t buy our products if they didn’t want to help us on the recycling journey. I think our brands have a really important role to play – they all now carry a ‘please recycle me’ message on their closures. I think there are many things that our brands can do to ensure that consumers understand n what we’re doing and why we’re making these changes. Listen to the conversation in full on the Packaging Europe Podcast. Available on our homepage, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Packaging Europe | 47 |
ON SECOND THOUGHTS...
WHAT’S BUGGING ME
Kevin Vyse, head of technical at Rapid Action Packaging, a consumer packaging solutions provider to the evolving food industry, explores the implications of the Coronavirus outbreak on the packaging industry.
was going to happen. The world has been set for a major epidemic for some years and COVID-19 is a stress test for the provisions the world has made to deal with such an event. China, Italy and Iran have been the first major casualties but gradually we are seeing the larger side effects of a modern world’s connectivity. The unacceptable truth about all this is the general ignorance around health and containment and we see the general population being stirred into a state of panic via the myriad of media formats they are now exposed to. Shelves are being emptied faster than a runaway delivery lorry and shortages are reported across the world, largely brought on by mass hysteria and lack of perspective. This has placed a strain on the Just-InTime delivery mechanisms. In short, the system can’t cope with these events very well. They are reappraising packaging that gives long life to food products right now. This reaction has been repeated time and again over the last few years, especially surrounding packaging and plastics. The poster child of world pollution, plastic, has been ousted in favour of so called ‘green’ materials but, in many cases, leading to formats which increase carbon footprints and work against circular economy principles, forgetting that plastic has been used in Just-In-Time supply systems for very good reasons. Until you have followed a product through the mechanics of a full supply chain you cannot fully appreciate just how hard a piece of packaging works. Another major issue is that facts are being abandoned in favour of opinion when it comes to progress. It seems no longer a positive attrib-
| 48 | Packaging Europe
ute to understand the facts before forming a response. Our current response to any crisis pays testament to the seminal work by Daniel Kahneman (psychologist and economist notable for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioural economics) on System thinking and proves that we are not quick to learn the lessons but far too quick to form an opinion without facts. I wonder whether we will therefore see, in the light of health concerns raised because of COVID-19, a return to protective packaging. Will we see a rejection of package-free aisles and a demand for better containment of products sold in the supermarkets? It will be interesting to see whether touching anything will be permissible and whether paper or card will be considered sufficient protection. There was always a very good reason food producers used packaging and it correlated with minimizing food waste and maximizing efficiency in the food supply chain. No food producer wants to have to spend money on packaging unless they really have to but when it saves thousands of euros of food waste it’s a necessary ingredient. Food waste should be a matter of great concern to everyone as it is by far and away the biggest contributor to carbon emissions. Hoarding is a hindrance as much will be wasted a consequence. I think it is time the consumer was made aware of just what it takes to get food to them and how important a well thought through piece of packaging (designed to meet the circular economic model of reuse, n recycle or compost) is to their everyday lives.
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