As environmental groups and consumers call for less waste and material use in candy wrappers, the confectionery industry still remains a key market for global packaging group Chesapeake as it contemplates life under a new financial structure.
The group, which has recently implemented restructuring of it operations following a pirate equity buyout, says despite sustainability challenges facing the sector, confectionery packs still hold a great deal of potential for innovation.
This Easter, leading multinational and specialist confectioners all announced initiatives designed to cut the amount of packaging being used in their products, reflecting wider long-term sustainability targets for the industry.
Rather than encouraging a crackdown on its products, a spokesperson for Chesapeake told ConfectioneryNews.com that this reduction focus was serving to drive innovation in the constructional design of its products. This innovation includes reviewing the company’s use of materials and print techniques down to finishes and effects, according to Chesapeake.
The packager says that it currently produces numerous goods for the confectionery industry, which includes carton designs for Easter eggs, assortment packs and tubs, as well as rigid boxes and spiral round tubes to cater for a wide customer base.
In looking at potential areas of innovation, the company claims to look across its entire line of consumable products in a bid to adapt developments already seen in drinks, cosmetics and even tobacco packs.
“We have found that some of the techniques and processes we have developed have been applicable to many other markets such as pharmaceuticals,” states a spokesperson for the group. “This may sound strange, but as the number of over-the-counter brands increase, competition has also intensified and customers here are looking for more inventive ways to differentiate their brands and deliver stronger shelf impact.”
Amidst a specific focus on packaging waste reduction within confectionery, Chesapeake claims that besides simply using fewer materials, good design remains at the heart of waste reduction for the industry.
The company spokesperson claims that by working with marketing groups and brand owners, it is able to find alternative ways to pack and present confectionery wrappers that stand out as well reduce waste.
Chesapeake says that helping confectioners to make use of single, mono-material pack specifications, which it says are easier to recycle, is one such example of how it is rethinking wrapping.
“[We are] promoting a similar pack specification for a variety of products that have traditionally used mixed materials such as food sealed in a PET thermoforming and then outer wrapped in a carton or printed cartonboard sleeve,” states the group spokesperson, “We have been offering alternative solution, which dispense with the PET thermoforming, that provides both a saving and less material.”
The focus could prove vital to ensure profitability in the confectionery industry as schemes like the UK-based Courtauld Commitment pushes retailers and manufacturers to sign up to voluntary targets to cut packaging and food waste by 2010.
In a seasonal consumer poll from the Advisory Committee on Packaging, some 59 per cent of UK adults surveyed believed Easter eggs are over-packaged.
While commending confectioners work towards sustainable development, the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a government-backed programme to ensure the UK meets EU waste requirements, suggests new voluntary commitments may soon be needed.
The potential new strategies that could kick off in 2010, when the programme’s current Courtauld Commitment finishes, could target further material savings on the factory floor as well as homes, according to the WRAP.