A world first according to Nestlé, the move represented a transition of 90% of the Smarties range to the new sustainably sourced packaging – 10% of products were already packed in recyclable paper packaging.
Rollout of the new packs is expected to be complete in the UK and Ireland by April and will include sharing bags, multipacks and ‘hexatubes’. The paper packaging would replace 250m plastic packs sold worldwide each year, Nestlé claimed.
Alexander von Maillot, global head of confectionery at Nestlé, said: “Moving Smarties packaging to recyclable paper is one of our key sustainable packaging initiatives in the confectionery category.
Sustainability in packaging
“It is a further step in realising Nestlé’s ambition to make all of our packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reduce our use of virgin plastics by one third in the same period.”
Nestlé’s move to recycled paper packaging for its Smarties products was one of many initiatives taken by the food manufacturing giant to introduce alternative and recyclable packaging materials.
The company has already invested £1.6bn to shift away from virgin plastics to food-grade recycled plastics and to accelerate the development of sustainable packaging solutions. It also pledged its whole range of Buxton Natural Mineral Water will be made from 100% recycled plastic – while remaining 100% recyclable – by the end of 2021.
‘Pioneering new materials’
Louise Barrett, head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York, added: “Developing safe and convenient paper-based solutions for Smarties has required the pioneering of new materials and testing by Nestlé packaging experts at our R&D centre for confectionery in York and at the Swiss-based Institute of Packaging Sciences.
“We adapted our existing manufacturing lines to allow for the careful handling that is required for paper, while also ensuring recyclability across all new formats.”
Meanwhile, last month, Nomad Foods’s frozen food brand Birds Eye announced plans to remove 379 tonnes of plastic from its Natural vegetable line as part of its move towards 100% recyclability.
From December through to the start of 2021 the producer will replace existing packaging with recyclable materials while reducing excess packaging – making pack sizes smaller but keeping the same amount of vegetables per pack.