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Exclusive interview

Nestle thinks big and small as it highlights packaging mega-trends

2 commentsBy Rory Harrington , 14-Jun-2011
Last updated on 14-Jun-2011 at 10:55 GMT2011-06-14T10:55:49Z

Dr Anne Roulin, head of packaging and design at Nestle, has given a unique insight into the mega-trends that are informing packing developments at the global giant.

In this exclusive interview, she explained how the changing needs of consumers such as those from ageing populations are influencing the design of its products.

The emergence of more affluent customers in developing nations is also having a profound effect on pack sizes – with Nestle thinking both big and small as part of its strategy to meet demands there.

While the Switzerland–based company is a veteran in the sustainability field, Dr Roulin outlined how use of a ground-breaking eco-design tool has enhanced its ability to assess the full environmental impact of a packaging design.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Other Materials have their Virtues!

All materials have different benefits and virtues. Glass along with Metal (as FEVE highlights),have excellent properties for food preservation and are infinitely recyclable. These properties are very relevant for a world with increasingly scarce resources.

Sharon Crayton
Group Head of Marketing & Public Affairs
Ardagh Group

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Posted by Sharon Crayton
27 June 2011 | 16h442011-06-27T16:44:27Z

Mega-Trends? What about glass?

From the title, I understand the aim of the interview is focusing on how Nestlé wants to answer to new consumer trends in terms of packaging solutions. Therefore there should be no aim of promoting one material more than another.This does not come out from the interview as exclusively reference to PET is made. Particularly, referring to PET as the “most recycled packaging material” is clearly unfair towards glass. 1) Glass is endlessly recyclable and actually recycled! 67% of glass packaging put on the market is collected for recycling and 80% of it comes back to closed loop recycling in European manufacturing plants – being local closed loop the most resource efficient solution according to the European Commission. 2) Plastic is not endlessly recyclable: only very low quantities are collected by country to get downcycled (and then landfilled or burnt), used for energy recovery or recycled. In the European Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, plastics is the material with the lowest recycling target (22,5%), and in most of the EU countries there are still difficulties to reach that. So the question is: what happens to all this plastics which is not collected and recycled? Exported towards exotic destinations, landfilled, or just destined to pollute the oceans. 3) Talking about mega-consumer trends, several researches show glass is largely recommended by European consumers as the healthiest and most environment friendly packaging material. Consumers also find glass best fits with their sustainable lifestyle when it comes – for example – to high quality and healthy food and drink. And they claim the right to find the products they prefer in any packaging material, and not only in plastics or PET. 4) When referring to oxygen barrier issue, and explaining how many costly innovation solutions are needed to make PET performing (how well we don’t know…), I find Dr Roulin could have easily referred to glass, which is the reference packaging material in this matter for its innate qualities: glass is inert, impermeable to oxygen, and it offers the most natural barrier to external agents. No need for additional layers or plastics films which engender themselves additional food contact problems and which have then to be land filled or burnt.

I think therefore that – if the aim was to have an objective and balanced statement on the importance of packaging materials – there were a lot of opportunities to refer to glass and other packaging materials and not focus exclusively on PET.
Best regards,
Michael Delle Selve
European Container Glass Federation (

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Posted by Michael Delle Selve
24 June 2011 | 13h292011-06-24T13:29:49Z

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