Heinz removes plastics from canned product packaging

Heinz is replacing plastic shrink-wrap packaging across its multipack canned products for sustainably certified paperboard, a move which will reduce the company's plastics footprint by 550 tonnes.

Heinz removes plastics from canned product packaging

A UK-wide roll-out will commence this Autumn

Heinze is switching to a paperboard sleeve for multipack canned products. The new “eco-sleeve” is fully recyclable and is approved by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The new sleeve also uses 50% less material than a fully enclosed box and 10% less than traditional paperboard sleeves.

Heinz estimates that a rollout across all canned products and major UK retailers will remove 550 tonnes of shrink-wrap packaging. The first products – a selection of Heinz Soups – are available in the new packaging, with a UK-wide launch to commence in Autumn 2021.

Kraft Heinz’s Northern Europe President Jojo de Noronha said: “It is clear that convenience is important to shoppers – research has found that 59% of UK shoppers say that if a package is easy to carry or transport, it is impactful to their overall satisfaction with the product. And sustainable packaging has a significant impact, too, with 71% of UK shoppers agreeing that they are more satisfied with a product if it is easily recycled or composted.

“Grounded in shopper insight, we feel this new recyclable and easy-to-carry paperboard sleeve ticks both of those boxes and is the perfect eco-friendly solution for our multipacks.  Our packaging innovation team continues to work hard to develop further sustainable solutions across our business as we make a £25m investment over three years to implement the infrastructure needed to ensure this roll-out is a success, which will be a win for the environment as well as shoppers across the UK.”

Heinz is aiming to reduce carbon emissions from packaging manufacturing transport. The new packaging sleeves have an 18.7% lower carbon footprint compared to shrink-wrap equivalents. The solution is part of a three-year £25m investment into low-carbon and efficiency improvements at the Kitt Green factory near Wigan.

Collaborating for change

Last year, Tesco announced plans to scrap all tin multipacks housed in plastic shrinkwrap, in a move that will mitigate the use of 67 million pieces of plastic annually. The supermarket has replaced all of its own-brand multipacks, and Heinz brand multipacks sold in store, with loose tins.

The move followed successful trials of the plastic-free format at Tesco’s Bar Hill Extra store, implemented after a team of 25 employees on the retailer’s graduate scheme put forward the suggestion. In order to scale the format up, Tesco collaborated with Kraft Heinz in order to shift away from sourcing plastic-wrapped multipacks of lines such as Heinz Beanz, soups and pasta.

As for Kraft Heinz, the company is stepping up sustainability efforts in order to transform itself from laggard to leader. edie recently spoke to Kraft Heinz’s global lead for ESG Jonah Smith to find out how the company is focusing on ESG scores and strategy to embed low-carbon and circular solutions across different areas of the business.

Kraft Heinz’s chief executive Miguel Patricio, for example, was given ESG-linked KPIs for the first time, along with more than 130 other senior members of staff including heads of department, in a bid to “build in accountability”. Read the full interview here.

Matt Mace

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