Five Recent Packaging Innovations

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In two articles I will show 10 new packaging developments, which recently reached my desk. We will see new Eco-Paper made from hazelnut shells, an elegant closure in glass for whisky, a sinking bottle after opening, a two-compartment ingredient mixer, and a bottle entirely made from fibre board.
Here we go.

Ferrero Eco-Paper
A project started by Ferrero (Italy) in cooperation with Stora Enso Barcelona (Spain) and Papiertechnische Stiftung (Germany) aims to use constructively the large amounts of residual by-products from the chocolate manufacturer, in particular the hazelnut shells and cocoa bean skins.
The goals is to create paper and paperboard packaging based on the use of confectionary production waste, in partial replacement of virgin cellulose. The project is called Eco-Paper.

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Although the Eco-Paper project is still in its experimental stage, it’s envisaged that one day, the Ferrero’s flagship chocolates, Ferrero Rocher, will have two hazelnut layers: inside and outside.
The experimental packaging material is produced by dry-milling the hazelnut shells, then adding them to the middle layer of a triplex folding box board, where they fill some of the space usually occupied by virgin cellulose fibres. With this technology the waste materials are up-cycled as raw materials for board production and not being treated as waste anymore which leads to a more sustainable and more economical packaging.
During a laboratory project in 2011 and 2012 the paper and board recipes have been developed in Italy and Germany. These studies have shown that confectionary waste is capable as substitution for virgin cellulose in the middle layer of triple-layer folding box board. The paper recipes developed in the laboratory were up-scaled to pilot plant scale.

The group is still experimenting on the ideal mixture of nutshell fibres in the pulp, but so far it works well for stiffness and bulk. The hazelnut fibres are used in the board’s middle layer and have been tested for allergy aspects without any problems.
Its short-term goal is to produce packaging with 20% hazelnut content. In the long-term perspective the technology is expected to be able to consume 50% of available confectionary waste (hazelnut shells, cocoa bean skins) resulting in 750.000 – 1.5 million tons of paper every year.

Malt whisky with glass closure
Corks have been used to close whisky bottles for centuries, but, cork-taint (especially TCA – or 2,4,6 trichloroanisol) has the potential to add undesirable aromas and flavours to a bottle of whisky in exactly the same way as a fine wine.

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In wine circles, debate has long raged on the subject of cork versus screw cap closures. It should be noted however, that while gas-exchange (through the slightly porous corks) is desirable in wine, no such demand is present for distilled spirits, where in-bottle development is much smaller or of no importance.
Independent bottler Master of Malt introduced an experimental bottle closure. Whiskies bottled with glass closures instead of the traditional corks or screw tops. This is the first time a closure of this type has been used to bottle single malt whisky.

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The new glass closures used by Master of Malt are both attractive and functional. Unlike decanter stoppers, they are airtight thanks to a thin, specially engineered rubberised seal that perfectly fits each bottle.
The experimental closures will feature on two 12 year old Bruichladdich single malts

U-Boot Drink in a bottle
A U-Boot is a beer cocktail (popular in Germany, Poland, Serbia and Flanders) that is made with a glass of beer and a shot glass of vodka. In Germany, the liquor korn is used instead, while in Flanders and the Netherlands, jonge jenever is preferred.
It is called a U-Boot (German abbreviation of Unterseeboot, “submarine”) because the shot glass of spirits sinks to the bottom of the glass of beer. The shot glass then “surfaces” when the cocktail is drunk.

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The German company U-Boot Getränke introduced its classic drink to the retail market. The U-Boot drink was available for decades only in selected restaurants and pubs. This launch was made possible, as Greiner Packaging created the “bottle-in-the-bottle” concept.
In this case the classic “U-Boot” is a schnapps glass filled with high-proof spirits that is dropped into a glass with soda.
Greiner developed a bottle-in-the-bottle concept and mastered the challenge of functionality and product safety. Both bottles are sealed with the same cap which, when unscrewed, detaches the smaller inner bottle, the “U-Boot”, from the seal. The U-Boot then sinks in the bigger outer bottle

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The 30ml spirit inner bottle as well as the 140ml soda outer bottle is made from PET by injection stretch blow moulding, while the HDPE seal is injected. The outer bottle is printed with screen print with UV drying colours and the seal is printed with pad printing. There is one seal for both bottles, the small bottle has a snap-on neck and the large bottle a screw-top neck.

VariBlend 30ml dual-bottle
150285-variblend-powered-redkin-conditioners-win-pcd-award-for-innovation W320 100dpiTo meet the global mega-trend of “nomadism” and allow the overly busy contemporary consumers on-the-go easily take their favourite skin care products with them, for use at work, while traveling or during leisure activities, VariBlend introduced a compact 30ml dual-compartment container, topped with a variable dispenser for a free control over mixing the ingredients.

The VariBlend dispenser sits atop a two-compartment bottle from Sonoco and locks securely to ensure the packaging will travel without leaking and the product will maintain its integrity.
Consumers can select different formula strengths by turning the dial on the dispenser, satisfying their demand for product personalisation and freshness. Keeping products separate until time of use keeps them fresher for longer.
The bottle integrates with the VariBlend 40-mm dispenser and incorporates a new, secure locking design for optimal product integrity, which is appealing for packaging without wraparound labels. The company also offers a non-airless 50-ml HDPE and 20-ml airless container with its 40-ml dispenser.

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Purina Pro Plan Bottle
Nestlé’s Purina introduced the first-ever all moulded fibre bottle with its Purina Pro Plan Renew 100% natural cat litter, created with corncob and cedar. You could say: “Natural product meets natural packaging”.
The moulded fibre shell is made by Ecologic from 100% recycled paperboard and newspaper. For Ecologic, it’s also an absolute first as it is the first time it manufacturers a bottle using no plastic, as even the friction-fit cap is made out of moulded fibre.

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We have seen various moulded fibre designs in the past, but all bottles always had, in one way or another, a plastic inner-liner, either in the form of a bag or a coating, to protect the content from moisture. In this case, however, Ecologic claims that it didn’t need a coating, as the thermoforming process of the fibre pulp involved very high heat as well as high pressure, improving the internal and external moisture resistance characteristics.
Being made from fibre, the 6-lb and 10.5-lb bottles are completely recyclable with the paper products stream. For some unclear, and not-explained reason the pressure-sensitive paper labels and the used adhesive in the package are, although recyclable, not made from recycled materials.

This was the first series of five recent packaging novelties. In a next article I will describe another five ones.

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