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Paper option increases food packaging sustainability

Paper option increases food packaging sustainability
The new paper-based, barrier food packaging option saves up to 70% plastic and runs seamlessly on f/f/s machinery.

Skog for Food launched this fall in the U.S. combines FSC-certified paper with double-sided coating that provides barrier properties and permits production on f/f/s machines.

For Swedes, “skog” means wood. And for those in the United States as of fall 2017, Skog for Food represents a new paper-based food packaging option for brands that offers sustainable packaging benefits. According to Mondi Extrusion Coatings, Skog for Food saves up to 70% plastic while retaining all the required barrier properties.

Notabloy, the material is engineered to be run seamlessly on all horizontal and vertical form/fill/seal machines. Michael Strobl, managing director, Mondi Coating Zeltweg, tells Packaging Digest that “the only adjustment that may be needed would be require minor such as sealing temperature, but no investments are necessary to run paper instead of plastic.”

Presented for the first time in North America at Pack Expo in Las Vegas in September, Skog for Food combines FSC-certified paper with double-sided coating, giving the bag the required barriers and sealing properties needed for f/f/s machines.

“The new liner complies perfectly with our sustainability strategy,” explains Jan-Willem Kleppers, managing director, Mondi Extrusion Coatings. “Skog is a natural product especially designed to fulfill ecological needs while protecting customers’ goods.”

For added sustainability, the bag can also be coated with Mondi’s biodegradable barrier Sustainex. The coating is derived from renewable sources and fully compliant with internationally accepted standards for biodegradability and compostability and fits into organic recovery, energy recovery and material recycling schemes.

Skog for Food is produced in a Mondi facility in Austria and printed and converted by a partner in Poland.

European import and targeted foods

The material has been in use in Europe since 2013, reports Strobl. “Since then, a number of European brand owners and supermarkets have changed part of their portfolio to our paper based packaging,” he tells Packaging Digest.

A windowed version is available from a European partner and has been tested for potatoes.

“We’ve packed up to 20 kg [44 lb] of animal feed pellets using Skog,” Strobl reports. “However, this construction does not have a window. With Skog for Food window packaging, 2 kg [4.4 lb] of potatoes has been tested successfully in windowed skog packaging.”

For conventional packaging, the window is a polymer film, while in the biomaterial version the window material is also biodegradable.

Strobl believes the material is especially suitable for fresh vegetables such as potatoes, onions and carrots.  “On the other hand, a Skog construction without a window and tailor-made barrier would also allow filling of dry and greasy food stuff,” he adds.

The material’s introduction stateside aligns neatly with increased brand interest in sustainable packaging, according to Strobl.

“Most brands in the U.S. have very clearly defined sustainability goals,” he explains. “The timing is great for packaging solutions that help brands achieve these goals while differentiating the consumer’s brand experience. Skog suits the growing niche for sustainable packaging and we’re excited by the initial market feedback.”

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