Companies constantly innovate with technology and redesign their packaging to get better performance, improve marketability and enhance sustainability. Here’s a look at six recent product revamps and launches on Packaging Dive’s radar.
Paper vs. plastic
Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages is teaming up with WestRock to phase out plastic carriers for certain multipacks. WestRock’s PETCollar Shield Plus paper carriers will be implemented for 12-ounce and 16.9-ounce bottle multipacks, making Liberty “the first bottler in the world” to use this specific solution.
Liberty’s Philadelphia production facility services the Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City markets. The company anticipates this new packaging system will be up and running by summer 2024. It follows a similar move by Liberty to adopt paper carriers for its mini cans, using Graphic Packaging’s KeelClip. According to the bottler, the combined changes across these sizes will replace an estimated 200,000 pounds of plastic per year.
WestRock has been scaling this part of its portfolio to offer multiple variations on the PETCollar as well as for its CanCollar. Other major beverage brands such as PepsiCo have also begun making the shift to paper carriers in recent years.
For a limited time in select markets, Constellation Brands’ Corona Extra beer will show up in special holiday cans that change color. The company partnered with fashion designer Talia Coles for the new look, which brings a “refreshed perspective to the ugly sweater game,” according to a release. The exterior of the can is infused with color-changing thermochromatic ink that reveals a different image as the packaging’s temperature changes from cold to room temperature. These cans became available in 12-packs as of Black Friday and can be found in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Philadelphia.
Tequila Komos is partnering with packaging company Green Loop on pallets that incorporate a tequila industry byproduct. The pallets, called Biopall, are made of 70% agave fiber and 30% wood sourced from “sustainably managed forests.” More than 80 tons of agave fibers are recycled for every 1,000 biopallets, and this reduces tree logging by between 30% and 70%, the companies said. Green Loop said it’s the only company that completely specializes in recycling bagasse, or bio-waste, from the tequila industry to help reduce tequila production’s environmental effects and carbon footprint.
“We are thrilled to count [Casa Komos Brands Group] among our very first partners, and hope that more tequila producers will follow their lead and embrace eco-friendly alternatives to traditional packaging materials,” Green Loop CEO Diego Arregui said in a news release.
In addition to supporting this project to repurpose agave waste for the pallets, the nonprofit Komos Foundation repurposes tequila production waste into adobe bricks for building infrastructure projects in Mexico.
Packaging developer Sofi Products unveiled its new plastic-free cup for hot beverages that the company says is biodegradable and doesn’t require a separate lid. The paper cup has three flaps that fold together to create a spout, and a patent-pending locking mechanism protects against spills. The cup has a water-based coating instead of a plastic one. The company says the cup biodegrades in less than 180 days “at any composting facility.”
Mondi released Snug&Strong corrugated packaging for white goods, or household appliances, to replace expanded polystyrene foam. The company said in a news release that the cost-efficient, custom-fit, 100% paper-based solutions are fully recyclable. The packaging also is delivered to customers flat, so it takes up less space than conventional EPS during transport and storage.
U.K.-based cleaning products company smol began sending mail-order customers some liquid product refills in Elopak’s 500 ml D-PAK cartons. Each carton holds one single fill for the original cleaner bottles and after use can be folded for recycling, according to the companies. In November, smol launched its starter kits that contain one of the cartons as well as a refillable “bottle-for-life” that’s made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. Other smol products are expected to launch in D-PAK cartons soon.
The carton “really called out to us as a positive step forward,” as the company continuously looks for ways to reduce plastic packaging, said Sophie Bramley, innovations manager at smol, in a news release.