Environmentally-friendly packaging accounted for 4 per cent of global confectionery launches in the first half of 2010 compared to 3 per cent for the period July to December 2009, according to Mintel, with novelty packs and colourful designs dominating.
Asia Pacific remained the most active region in terms of new gum, mint and sugar confectionery product releases with a 42 per cent share of total launches, followed by Europe with 23 per cent, reveals the market analysts' Global New Products Database (GNPD).
And children, said Mintel, are the key target group of the majority of the launches. The analysts argue that the greatest diversity in terms of packaging can be observed in the children's segment, where many packs double up as toys.
The market researchers note that the packaging promoted as sustainable as part of these gum and sweet launches largely focused on established green traits such as being recyclable or biodegradable, and there was less of an emphasis on renewable or lighter materials.
However, there have been a number of leading confectioners who have opted for the reduced packaging approach during Mintel’s review period.
Less is more
In March, UK based Tangerine confectionery announced that it had switched to greener packaging and reformulated the hard eating gums in its Lion range to meet the growing demand for clean labels and environmentally sustainable products
The spokesperson told this publication at the time that the sweet manufacturer is using 20/20 micron oriented polypropylene film for its 215g and 113g bag options:
“In order to reduce our impact on the environment the thickness of the film used for the bags has been reduced over the last few years and all of the cardboard used for the weigh out boxes and the retail display outer cases can be recycled.”
And in April, leading gum maker, Wrigley, announced that it was to switch from aluminium foil wrappers to paper for the packaging of its five leading chewing-gum brands.
According to findings of a recent North America based Mintel survey, 19 per cent of the respondents indicated that they wanted gum and mints to have more environmentally sustainable packaging.
The manufacturer said the packaging initiative will save about 850 tonnes of aluminium foil, keeping the equivalent of 60 million cans a year out of landfills.
And Wrigley revealed that the paper packaging will result in an outlay of 13 per cent less than foil procurement costs. The company stressed that the migration from aluminium to paper will not affect the sensory for shelf life properties of the chewing gum.
In addition, packaging suppliers and research institutes have been developing confectionery packaging orientated materials along sustainable lines over the past six month.
Coating for choc wraps
A nano-based coating developed at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is claimed to reduce packaging waste and could be used in chocolate packaging.
Lead researcher Professor Ali Harlin said that the coating was developed using the atomic layer deposition (ALD) method, and has excellent gas permeation resistance, “The ALD forms a very even ceramic layer, which acts like a glass and thus has high oxygen, moisture and grease barrier properties,” he said.
The barrier layer formed by ALD, continued Harlin, is not designed to be in direct contact with the food product but is instead placed in between the polymer layers so migration into the food product is not a factor.
Chocolate wrappers, for example, can now be made without the aluminium-coated paper, if the carton wrap is treated with the ALD coating method, explained Harlin.
He maintains that the ALD coating provides savings on raw material and transport costs as the amount of packaging material can be reduced and recycling of the packaging is made easier.
Meanwhile UK cellulose acetate film supplier Clarifoil recently produced a new ultra-gloss white film for luxury confectionery packaging that is said to be made from a renewable polymer and is biodegradable.
The satiné lamination film was launched in Q1 2010 and took 2 years to develop.
Clarifoil said that the film is accredited to EN 13432 and ASTM D6400 standards which means it biodegrades at least 90 per cent within six months and has low heavy metal content.
Clarifoil marketing manager Marion Bauer told ConfectioneryNews.com that the standout qualities of this new material was its “bio-degradability and compostability, its brilliance and its scratch- and scuff-resistance”
The film, which possesses similar physical properties to Clarifoil’s standard P20 grade cellulose di-acetate films, is produced using cellulose from non-GM wood from managed forests.