The firm told FoodProductionDaily it is in the certification process with cans sent to a laboratory which will set up tests that the can needs to be passed through to be certified.
Sébastien Fabre, sales manager, said they are trying to be certified biodegradable and, if successful, they will share the product with the market.
“We know some suppliers and we have R&D integrated to the company that help us to find new components to the can bringing these new options,” he said during Emballage 2014.
“So we are playing with the cardboard end and body and the bioplastic lid to keep the same preservation but to offer a new trend.
“So this is a new target for our packaging and the market is turning to it as we need to find some sustainable packaging.”
He added that the infrastructure is being built up and work has been ongoing for around one year with cans sent to a laboratory to achieve the certification.
Weidenhammer and Sonoco deal
Weidenhammer manufactures composite cans and plastic containers for customers including Nestlé, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo and Unilever.
The firm operates twelve production sites in Europe, North and South America with 1,100 employees and annual group sales of €251m in 2013.
Products can have a long shelf life such as Pringles, baby food and coffee or short life like chocolate confectionery for special occasions including Christmas, depending on the adapted components such as the membrane and the inner lining of the can.
Why a composite can?
Composite means cardboard and inner liners of paper or aluminium depending on the preservation need, said Fabre.
“So it means the market was demanding one side for the design because the offset printing gives a lot of opportunities, you can play on the paper and the printing options and the inner liner made of a special liner, so aluminium plus a coating, gives maximum preservation,” he said.
“So for example for the chips Pringles they put a coating which preserves gas and gives a shelf life of 24 months.”
Fabre says the packaging can vary a lot and they play on the components to find the right balance.
“For example we make secondary packaging for luxury tubes to put a bottle inside. So it means we play a lot on the inner liners to give the right preservation at the right price.”
The printing capabilities on composite cans can make up for the fact that the product cannot be seen as is the case with items packaged in plastic.
“We cannot offer transparency, or maybe we can do that through the lid, but obviously it is cardboard so you cannot see in it.
“But with the printing options you can print up to eight colours and play on the paper itself so it can give the optical view of the product inside and on the food market this helps a lot.”