January 26 2021  |  Confectionery & Fine Foods

Smarties leads the journey toward a waste-free future

By Laura Shirk

Following a five-pillar strategic approach, the popular brand owned by Nestlé is the first global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging

Moving fast to deliver its commitments, Nestlé announced that its popular Smarties brand is now using recyclable paper packaging for its main confectionery products worldwide. Following the launch of its Smarties sharing block in the UK last year (exclusively domestic market), which features recycle paper packaging, this represents a transition of 90% of the Smarties range and marks the brand as the first global confectionery brand to switch to recycle paper packaging.

This movement is based on a five-pillar strategic approach to sustainable packaging: reduce, reuse & refill, alternative materials, infrastructure and behavior change. The team is focused on reducing its use of packaging material, particularly virgin plastics, supporting infrastructure that helps to shape a waste-free future and changing both the behavior and mindset, when it comes to its own operations and productions, as well as consumers, retailers and suppliers. Working with experts in the field, Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences is the first of its kind in the industry and offers a strong pipeline of sustainable packaging solutions.

Although Smarties had to replace its iconic tube-shaped packaging format, it’s believed that the new hexatube packaging “looks, feels and sounds great.” Ensuring a bright future and a colorful world, the brand promises to educate children about colors, flavors, shapes, sustainability and climate change and promote responsible consumption.

“Shifting Smarties packaging to recyclable paper is one of our key sustainable packaging initiatives in the confectionery category. It is a further step in realizing Nestlé’s ambition to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 and to reduce its use of virgin plastics by one third in the same period,” explains Alexander von Maillot, Global Head of Confectionery at Nestlé.

With no shortage of paper available, the new packaging is sourced sustainably and keeps the product in prime condition during transport and storage

The new packaging is sourced sustainably and made of a coated paper, paper labels or carton board. Although slightly increasing the price point of the product, with the need to innovate its equipment and production and manufacturing lines, Bruce Fennell, Head of Packaging at Nestlé NPTC Confectionery shares that the packaging does not impact speed of production or shelf life and is safe for food contact. The packaging is recyclable in the countries where Smarties are sold, except in limited markets, where the recycling of this material is not currently viable. Information about how to properly dispose of Smarties paper packaging is also included on its labels to generate consumer awareness.

Specifically, in travel retail & duty free, Nestlé International Travel Retail has led the way with Smarties’ sustainability and corporate responsibility initiative, introducing a new version of its Travel Retail Exclusive Music Creator in May of 2020. With a new carton box replacing a single use-plastic packaging, this year will see its full range transition to recyclable paper packaging. Although most of its duty-free shops are closed at this time, von Maillot says that as soon as “normalling travel” resumes, this initiative will expand to the industry.

Although the favorite color of Smartie is still up for debate, the product and its new packaging aim to educate kids, families and future generations

“The new packaging has been extensively tested by Nestlé packaging experts to make sure that it keeps the Smarties product in prime condition during transport and storage. We also made a number of modifications to our existing manufacturing lines so that we can wrap the products without tearing or puncturing the paper,” comments Louise Barrett, Head of the Nestlé Confectionery Product Technology Centre in York.

This transformation of the Smarties packaging is only one of the brands’ “SMART Initiatives,” which aim to support sustainability, biodiversity and enhance the overall product experience. Nestlé invested significantly to change its practices, shift its mindset and upgrade its factories globally, including in Hamburg, Germany, one of the company’s largest manufacturing locations of confectionery products.

Visit the following link to learn more: http://nes.tl/SmartiesPaper

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