At the beginning of March 2019, Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, announced that its modular takeaway packaging, targeted at restaurants’ takeaway services, was one of the seven winning concept ideas in the Helsinki wholesale market area’s innovation competition. The takeaway packaging, developed by the project group led by Metsä Board, is easily recyclable and made of Metsä Board’s fresh fiber paperboard. In this initial pilot both consumers and restauranteurs found this solution easy-to-use and functional as well as easy to recycle.
Today many of the takeaway packages that restaurants use are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) and this is one of the products hit by the EU’s Single-Use Plastics Directive. Restaurants urgently need new packaging solutions and paperboard offers a sustainable alternative. The modular packaging, made by the project group, can also be closed more tightly than an EPS container, and in addition, paperboard can be printed and therefore presents branding opportunities.
The takeaway packaging includes an outer packaging that can accommodate several trays of different sizes, depending on the food in question. The restaurants can customize the packaging with their own printed stickers while the packaging’s visual design remains the same for all restaurants as they purchase their takeaway packages through a wholesaler. The restauranteurs have now been sent samples that they can further test during the summer.
“The packaging was developed through various discussions and workshops where the whole packaging value chain was taken into account. It is also worth noting that in the consumer study respondents said that they are willing to pay more for packaging made of paperboard as they found it more sustainable. Our packaging also enhanced the image of premium food,” said Leena Yliniemi, technical marketing director for Metsä Board.
The team, led by Metsä Board, consisted of Cadpack Oy, a Finnish company that designed and manufactured the packaging. Package Testing & Research was responsible for coordinating the pilot as well as for the consumer studies with Sense N Insight research services. The innovation competition, funded by the city of Helsinki and Business Finland, was organized to find new technological and other innovative solutions specifically for food and food production, and also packaging, circular economy and clean technologies.