Coke to test first ever paper bottle in market this summer in Hungary

The prototype was unveiled last fall

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AdeZ beverage packed in paper bottle

The Coca-Cola Company will test its first-ever paper bottle this summer through a limited online trial in Hungary. A run of 2,000 bottles of the plant-based beverage AdeZ will be offered via eGrocery retailer Kifli.hu.

The paper bottle project – which is being co-developed by Coca‐Cola’s R&D team in Brussels and The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco), a Danish startup supported by ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs, in cooperation with Carlsberg, L’Oréal and The Absolut Company – is moving into the consumer testing phase to measure the package’s performance and shopper response to the format. Coca-Cola and Paboco unveiled the first-generation prototype, which consists of a paper shell with a recyclable plastic lining and cap, last fall.

Daniela Zahariea, director of technical supply chain and innovation, Coca‐Cola Europe, said, “People expect Coca‐Cola to develop and bring to market new, innovative and sustainable types of packaging. That’s why we are partnering with experts like Paboco, experimenting openly and conducting this first in-market trial.”

The technology developed by Paboco is designed to create 100% recyclable bottles made of sustainably sourced wood with a bio-based material barrier capable of resisting liquids, CO2 and oxygen, and suitable for beverages, beauty products, and other liquid goods. The ultimate goal is a bottle that can be recycled as paper.

The innovation supports The Coca-Cola Company’s World Without Waste sustainable packaging goal to collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one it sells by 2030, while substantially reducing use of virgin packaging materials and using only 100% recyclable packaging materials.

Stijn Franssen, R&D packaging innovation manager for Coca‐Cola Europe, stresses that the breakthrough technology is still in development. Franssen’s team has been conducting extensive lab testing to assess how the paper bottle performs, holds up, and protects its contents. “This is new technology, and we are moving in uncharted territory,” he explained. “We have to invent the technical solutions as we go along.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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