In an update on the latest packaging innovations for 2013, Bord Bia has identified the latest brands that are using innovative pack formats.

On trend at the moment is the large number of innovations occurring within the bottling industry. The latest innovations are eco-friendly, use low carbon raw materials and are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Water in a Box
Water in a Box is the first flavored water to be packed and sold in cartons in the UK. The cartons are predominantly made from paperboard.

The packaging is also lightweight, 100 per cent recyclable and is made from low carbon raw materials.

There has been a lot of talk in the past about the impact of plastic bottles on the environment, but since paper packaging is kinder to the environment than standard-issue PET plastic bottles, has this argument come to an end?

The range will initially be sold at Tesco stores in London and is available in plain spring water and three thirst-quenching flavors – dash of Orange and Peach, dash of Strawberry; and dash of Lemon and Lime. The design is simple and sold in shelf ready 330ml cartons. They have a re-closable cap, making them ideal for people who want to rehydrate on-the-go.

Schwan Food launch: Soft Serve Ice-cream at Home
Any consumer will agree that there is a big difference between between softened ice cream and real "soft serve."

It's the consistency and the swirl. The new Soft Serve product, which launched in July 2013 comes in a single-serve 8-oz premade pouch—a laminated structure with a custom 28mm finish and formed in the shape of an ice cream cone.

A star pattern was added to the mould so consumers can swirl the ice cream as it is dispensed. The packaging is simple to use and gives the consumer the choice of dispensing the ice-cream into a cone, cup or bowl; or eat directly from the package.

Kellogg’s Launches Cereal in a Reusable Zippered Pouch
For the first time, Kellogg’s are using post-consumer resin in a retail pouch. They are implementing a reusable pouch for its Kashi cereal from Envision Plastics.

The EcoPrime pouch is claimed to be the only FDA-approved, food-grade, recycled high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) resin on the market in North America.

The pouch is reusable, uses less material than the traditional bag-in-box and is a first-of-its-kind packaging that contains at least 15 per cent recycled material.

An added consumer benefit is that after the cereal is gone, the pouch can be used as a freezer bag for leftovers or to store dry goods because the pouch has a zipper.  The packaging is durable and strong, providing the barrier needed to protect the food.

Rawlings Launches Most Ethical Glass Bottle in The UK
Rawlings, the leading independent glass packaging specialist, with a strong heritage and reputation for sustainable quality, was selected by social enterprise Belu to develop a lightweight glass bottle for mineral water in the UK.

Through new techniques and innovation, Rawlings, in partnership with sustainability focused glass manufacturer, OI, were able to reduce the weight of the previous lightweight 750ml and 330ml bottles both by 20g.

To translate this weight saving into potential environmental gains, Belu have been able to:

• Save 850,000 kg of glass annually, equivalent to  2.1 million wine bottles and

• Reduce their carbon emissions by 11 per cent, the equivalent to saving the same amount of carbon associated with 7,000 nights in an average sized UK hotel.

The product branded Ethical Glass, however, is not being retained exclusively for Belu, it is also being made available to other mineral water companies in a bid to lower the industry’s carbon footprint.

By Tom Collins, Insight & Innovation Analyst, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board