World first: Arla’s organic dairy in aseptic, plant-based carton pack from SIG

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10 May 2018 --- Arla Food Germany is the first company to opt for the innovative Signature pack – the world’s first aseptic carton pack that is 100 percent linked to plant-based renewable material – from SIG, the carton pack and filling technology specialist. The Signature pack offers a fully renewable package, including the plastic closure fittings which are obtained through a strict certified traceability system in the manufacturing of the polymers. 

“With Signature pack, SIG and our customers can contribute to resource efficiency as the packaging is very lightweight, has a very high protection function for the filled product – avoiding food spoilage, is easily recyclable and with a 100 percent renewable raw material basis. The latter connects to the 77 percent share of cardboard, which is made from thinning wood out of sustainable forestry and from wood chip residues from the sawn mill industry,” Udo Felten, Manager Product Related Global Environmental Sustainability and Affairs at SIG, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Sustainable Signature pack 
Coined a “world-first,” the Signature pack is entirely produced from renewable plant material, and even the plastic closure fittings and packaging laminate were created in such a way that they are fully sustainable. 

This means that for the polymers used in the pack, an equivalent amount of bio-based feedstock went into the manufacturing of the polymers. To ensure the integrity of this process, the mass balancing is certified through internationally recognized third-parties.

“The packaging laminate and closure parts consist of multiple grades of specialty plastics because of the various functionality requirements. Receiving these grades with a linked plant-based feedstock is not as easy as it may sound,” states Felten.

The process involves a number of steps, namely: “The plastic producers guarantee, through strict certified traceability systems respectively, that a wood-based feedstock is replacing fossil feedstock in the manufacturing of the polymers used in our new packaging.”

Click to Enlarge
Udo Felten,
Manager Product Related Global Environmental Sustainability
and Affairs at SIG

Polymers obtained through plant-based materials have identical properties as their conventional fossil-based versions since the polymer production is identical to fossil-based plastics. 

However, Fenton explains, the key difference here is the source. “We can gradually substitute our reliance on non-renewable fossil-based materials, such as petrol, with renewable sources that promote a sustainable and greener future for future generations.”

Furthermore, the pack itself is fully composed from Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paperboard (77 percent) and the aluminum layer found in a conventional carton pack has been removed and replaced with a plant-based PA (Polyamide) polymer barrier. This second layer makes up the remaining 23 percent of the materials content. Also, the spout is made from Polypropylene (PP).    

These credentials are displayed on Arla’s organic milk packs, together with the FSC label which aims to shows consumers that the wood-based content comes from well-managed forests and other controlled sources in accordance to FSC requirements. 

Consumer demand for sustainable packaging
Innova Market Insights data reports the rise of the consumer concerned with “full circle,” meaning, consumers care about tip to tail eating, including innovative ways to put food waste to good use, as well as more biodegradable and renewable packaging. In this way, “circular consumption” is gaining traction.

By choosing Signature pack for their organic dairy products, Arla Foods Germany is acknowledging the consumer drive for sustainable options in packaging: “The Signature pack from SIG is a great match for our Arla BIO Weidemilch. Consumers that choose our pure Arla BIO Weidemilch also have an increasingly strong interest in sustainable packaging. With the value-added pack from SIG, we can demonstrate our commitment to transparency and our holistic approach to sustainability across the value chain,” says Elise Bijkerk, Marketing Director at Arla Foods Germany.

Consumers are beginning to expect sustainable options when they are scanning the grocery shelves, and brands can reflect this commitment through their packaging, Felten explains.

Furthermore, sustainable and plant-based packaging allows a brand to demonstrate to the consumer, in a tangible and relevant manner, their long-term commitment to a sustainable future. 

“This allows a brand to build trust and highlight their commitment to social and environmental impact. When the benefits are communicated in an open and clear way to consumers, brands are rewarded with increased sales,” he adds.

The Signature pack is one of the latest innovations supporting SIG’s Way Beyond Good ambitions to offer customers the sustainable food packaging solutions and contribute more to society and the environment than it takes out.

“Of course, we will continue bringing more eco-innovations to Arla and other customers who see value in this,” Fenton concludes.

By Laxmi Haigh

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