In a category first, Quality Street will move to recyclable paper packaging for its twist-wrapped sweets. By replacing the double layer of foil and cellulose with a paper wrap, Quality Street will remove more than two billion pieces of packaging material from the brand’s supply chain, Nestlé claimed.
At the same time, KitKat will introduce wrappers made with 80% recycled plastic, using the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification mass balance approach. Nestlé said these wrappers can be recycled at more than 5,000 supermarkets across the UK - and placed in household recycling in the Republic of Ireland. The rollout will begin this month on the brand’s flagship two-finger products, before being extended across the entire range by 2024.
Purchased by more than 6 in 10 households in the UK, KitKat will use the highest proportion of recycled food-grade plastic of any major UK & Ireland confectionery brand. The launch is part of Nestlé’s ongoing commitment towards reducing its environmental impact and supporting a circular economy.
The company said this commitment is further demonstrated by the new Quality Street wrappers, which were developed by packaging experts at Nestlé's research and development centre in York. One innovation is the development of a special vegetable-based coating for the paper, which does not hinder the recycling process.
Nine of the 11 Quality Street sweets will move to paper-based packaging. The Orange Crunch and the Green Triangle will remain in their simple foil wrappers as, traditionally, they have not had cellulose wrappers.
The transition to paper, which is now underway, will take several months to complete. This means that for Christmas 2022, consumers will find a mix of both the old and new wrappers in their Quality Street cartons, pouches, tubs, and tins.
Richard Watson, Business Executive Officer, Nestlé Confectionery said: “These major packaging innovations have been pioneered by our teams here in the UK. The new KitKat packaging is enabled by a significant upgrade to Nestlé’s York Factory, while the category-leading Quality Street paper twist-wraps have been designed at our Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York, and implemented in Halifax, the home of Quality Street for 87 years.
“Nestlé Confectionery is taking a leadership position on packaging sustainability as we work towards reducing our use of virgin plastic by one third and making all our packaging recyclable or reusable within the next three years. The changes we are announcing today have been informed by detailed lifecycle assessments that have enabled us to identify solutions with a lower environmental impact than our current packaging.”
Quality Street is the second Nestlé confectionery brand to introduce paper, following Smarties, which rolled out recyclable paper packaging for all its confectionery products globally in 2021.