The aluminium-free lid

Author: Isabelle Kliger

The aluminium-free lid

The food industry is increasingly interested in sustainable food packaging. Walki's response is an aluminium-free lid for dairy products.

Lids for dairy products and other chilled foods have typically been made out of aluminium. But as demand for sustainable packaging continues to grow, Walki has developed a ground-breaking, aluminium-free lid solution. Walki®Lid is set to revolutionise the future of packaging.

Walki®Lid is a fibre-based lidding material for single-cup lids, which can be combined with cups made from Polystyrene (PS), Polypropylene (PP) or, most recently, other sustainable fibre-based materials.

Swedish packaging manufacturer Arta Plast has created a cutting-edge paperboard cup for Arla, a leading Swedish dairy producer.

"Combined with Walki’s fibre-based lidding material, the result is a total packaging solution that is very sustainable and contains materials made from renewable resources," says Henri Torkkola, Walki’s Technical Service and Development Manager for Flexible Packaging.

The solution developed by Arta Plast is called Fiber Cup and is made from paperboard by Stora Enso. To ensure good protection and maintain the freshness of products such as crème fraiche or other chilled foods, the board has been coated with a thin polymer layer (PP) on both sides. The solution was developed due to growing customer demand for a sustainable alternative to the thermoformed polystyrene cups that have traditionally been used to package food of this kind.

Last year, Arla re-launched its popular crème fraiche product in Swedish supermarkets, combining the Fiber Cup with Walki®Lid, which is suitable for packaging foods such as dairy products, fresh cheese, salads, ice cream, dipping sauces and sweets.

Walki®Lid is a laminate that combines high-quality printing paper and with a peelable co-extruded high-barrier coating. It provides a tight, strong seal to a variety of cups and is extremely user-friendly, providing easy peeling without tearing, as well as good mechanical properties. Crucially, Walki®Lid also delivers a good barrier against aroma, water vapour and gas.

“The customer wanted a solution that would be fully recyclable as a paper material, while delivering the kinds of barrier properties and sealability that had previously only been achieved through either aluminium- or plastic-based solutions," explains Heikki Lumme, Business Line Manager Flexible Packaging, adding that Walki worked closely with both the end customer and Arta Plast to identify the optimal combination of materials.

“We also provided support during the testing and validation period as switching lidding material may lead to challenges on the filling line, due to the different characteristics of the new material," says Torkkola.

Meticulous research

The market for packaging is changing.

“Whereas in the past, food manufacturers tended primarily to look for the most cost-efficient option, these days they are prioritising sustainability, as they seek to improve their market profile and reduce their own carbon footprint", says Lumme.

Arla’s new crème-fraiche packaging is the result of four years of meticulous research and development. Since its introduction in September 2017, the market response has been excellent.

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