Unilever has partnered with Mondi to develop a new high barrier paper-based packaging material for its Colman’s dry Meal Maker and sauces range with reduced plastic, increased paper content to ensure recyclability in the existing UK paper waste stream.
By replacing the previously unrecyclable multi-material laminate with paper packaging, Mondi supports Unilever in its sustainability targets. The aluminum, as well as all unnecessary plastic layers of the previous material, were eliminated. This resulted in a new packaging with 85 percent paper content and an ultra-thin functional plastic layer that seals the packaging and provides barrier protection for the food.
Mondi and Unilever’s R&D teams identified this layer as the minimum acceptable protection needed to ensure a long shelf life while maintaining high quality and reducing food waste.
The two companies closely collaborated throughout the entire development process, including mastering the challenge of limited access to production facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Starting with a proof of concept, followed by extensive line trials at both Mondi and Unilever’s R&D pilot plants, provided the flexibility to quickly prototype and test the unique packaging material before scaling up.
‘At Colman’s, we’re big and bold when it comes to our flavors, and we’re keen to make equally bold steps when it comes to our sustainability commitments,’ said Fikerte Woldegiorgis, marketing director for foods at Unilever UK and Ireland. ‘We are delighted to partner with Mondi to develop this recyclable paper packaging, becoming the first big brand within the category to do so. The new packaging, which uses a paper-base, ensures that shoppers can enjoy the same great tasting product they know and love, and now with the added benefit of being able to recycle the packs.’
Torsten Murra, global head of key accounts consumer flexibles, at Mondi, added: ‘MAP2030, Mondi’s action plan for the next ten years to achieve our ambitious 2030 sustainability commitments, focuses on circular driven packaging and paper solutions, created by empowered people, taking action on climate. By working closely with Unilever, we were able to co-create a packaging solution that will deliver on all counts and is recyclable, providing a valuable resource for the circular economy to drive real change towards a more sustainable future.’