Mondi and Unilever serve up aluminium-free paper-based packaging for Colman’s meal makers

Mondi’s EcoSolutions approach supports Unilever in its sustainability goal to halve the amount of plastic used in its packaging

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Mondi
Mondi and Unilever serve up aluminium-free paper-based packaging for Colman’s Meal Makers. (Photo: Unilever, PR188)

Unilever, together with Mondi, a global enterprise in packaging and paper, has developed a new high barrier paper-based packaging material for Unilever’s Colman’s dry meal maker and sauces range by reducing plastic, increasing paper content, and consequently ensuring recyclability in the existing UK paper waste stream.

By replacing the previous unrecyclable multi-material laminate with recyclable paper packaging, Mondi supports Unilever in its sustainability targets. The aluminium, as well as all unnecessary plastic layers of the previous material, were eliminated. This resulted in a new packaging solution with a paper content of 85% 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.

Mondi and Unilever 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. This collaborative method goes to the heart of Mondi’s EcoSolutions customer-centric approach of working closely with its customers to ensure that the best possible and most sustainable product is created while meeting the customer’s requirements, as well as that of its end-user and the environment.

Unilever focuses on the principle of a circular economy and the importance of creating value within it. Two of their key targets are to transform the entire packaging portfolio into technically recyclable, reusable, or biodegradable solutions as well as to halve the amount of plastic used by 2025, which this new packaging solution addresses.

“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. 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,” says Fikerte Woldegiorgis, Foods Marketing director, Unilever UK&I

Torsten Murra, Global head of Key Accounts Consumer Flexibles, Mondi, adds, “MAP2030, Mondi’s action plan for the next 10 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.”

Mondi is a global enterprise in packaging and paper, contributing to a better world by making innovative packaging and paper solutions that are sustainable by design. Its business is integrated across the value chain – from managing forests and producing pulp, paper, and plastic films, to developing and manufacturing effective industrial and consumer packaging solutions. Sustainability is at the center of its strategy and intrinsic in the way it does business. It leads the industry with its customer-centric approach, EcoSolutions, where it asks the right questions to find the most sustainable solution. In 2020, Mondi had revenues of  EUR 6.66 billion (approximately Rs 58,481 crore) and an underlying EBITDA of EUR 1.35 billion (approximately Rs 11,854 crore).

Mondi has a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (MNDI), and a secondary listing on the JSE Limited (MNP). Mondi is an FTSE 100 constituent and has been included in the FTSE4Good Index Series since 2008 and the FTSE/JSE Responsible Investment Index Series since 2007.

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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