In sustainable packaging, there is a strong desire to move away from plastic and polymer-based packaging. Some companies will move from plastic to paper or aluminum packaging, but another alternative has been found. Cucina Fresca Gourmet Foods, a producer of natural prepared pasta and sauces, is using a middle ground. They use a type of “plant-based rollstock” that retains the benefits of clear plastic trays while being sustainable. What is this material, and how does it improve green packaging? Read on to learn more.
What Is Plant-Based Rollstock?
The material used by Cucina Fresca is Sealed Air’s Cryovac Plant-Based Rollstock (PBR) for thermoformed trays. The forming web of the package is a three-layer construction of a high-barrier renewable Plantic bioplastic layer. This layer is made from cornstarch, PET, and a thin polyethylene-based sealant layer.
Crops like corn are renewable materials that can be added to plastics to reduce the dependence on petroleum-based resources. At the same time, the materials reduce the carbon footprint of the packaging. While most of the rollstock material contains standard PET for safety, durability, and thermoforming properties, the biopolymer barrier helps eliminate nearly 24% of traditional plastics.
Addressing the Concerns of Consumers
Cucina Fresca has a mission of creating great-tasting products while promoting sustainability. Many of its customers appreciate this aspect of their company and were disappointed to see them use so much plastic packaging.
Once Cucina Fresca understood that PBR could significantly decrease the use of plastics, they knew it was the right choice. To inform their consumers of this unique packaging, they add labels to their products. They are also creating content on their website to educate consumers further about renewable resources in plastic packaging.
These practices are key because consumers are increasingly attracted to companies that practice sustainability. They won’t necessarily know that you are sustainable unless you tell them.
Future Packaging Evolutions
Sealed Air’s rollstock product is being used more and more, particularly by companies that need to package fresh food items.
This plant-based rollstock is a “drop-in” replacement for conventional web-forming materials. This means minimal adjustments are required for existing equipment. A significant benefit for companies is reducing fossil fuel-based plastics without sacrificing product shelf life or performance.
Sealed Air has plans to expand its technology further, however. A few goals include moving beyond the plant-based rollstock available in a semirigid format to developing companion web solutions. Upcoming product launches include polyethylene-based rollstock with traditional barrier layers. As technology advances, these creative solutions to reducing plastic packaging will continue to evolve.
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