Boasting a portfolio of over 200 manufacturers – eight of which herald upwards of $1bn yearly – The Kraft Heinz Firm produces numerous packaging.
Whereas a majority is constituted of paper, glass, or metallic supplies which are absolutely recyclable, the opposite portion of its packaging is usually made up of versatile plastic movies or inflexible plastic containers.
In a transfer geared toward reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and bettering its environmental impression, Kraft Heinz has introduced a dedication to chop the usage of virgin plastic in its world packaging portfolio by 20% by 2030, from 2021 ranges.
The corporate is pulling three most important levers to attain this purpose: changing virgin plastic with recycled content material; get rid of or scale back plastic packaging; and discover plastic options.
“We’re investing in progressive applied sciences and partnerships which are crucial to serving to us redesign packaging, get rid of pointless plastic, enhance our use of recycled content material, and affect the adoption of reuse fashions,” stated Rashida La Lande, government vice chairman, world basic counsel, and chief sustainability and company affairs officer at Kraft Heinz.
“That is a method we’re renovating our product portfolio to not solely provide extra sustainable choices, however to ship on our shopper expectations.”
Navigating the ‘sophisticated puzzle’ of alt plastic supplies
A technique Kraft Heinz is working to scale back its use of virgin plastic is by swapping out standard packaging supplies for extra sustainable options.
Final yr, Heinz introduced a pilot with Pulpex to develop a paper-based, renewable and recyclable bottle constituted of 100% sustainably sourced wooden pulp for its Tomato Ketchup. The corporate claims this to be a primary within the sauce class.
This yr, Kraft Heinz’ Canadian espresso model Nabob changed its non-recyclable versatile plastic espresso luggage with recyclable canisters constituted of 80% paper fibre from renewable sources. The change is estimated to get rid of roughly 2.5m plastic luggage per yr.
“There’s lots to think about as we have a look at creating new and various packaging options,” defined La Lande. “Initially, we should ship in opposition to our meals security necessities and defend the product all through the use cycle. We even have to fulfill the expectations of customers to make sure that packaging capabilities the way in which they’ve come to belief.”
Kraft Heinz additionally must be assured that the plastic various in query is doing extra good than hurt. “Whereas plastic waste can have a detrimental impression on the surroundings, we additionally should watch out to guage the environmental impression of options to make sure that they don’t have worse impacts on the surroundings.”
And eventually, the corporate must be certain it could actually run any potential new improvements on its present tools, in order that it could actually implement adjustments within the ‘best manner’, La Lande informed this publication.
“So, we work onerous to anticipate and forecast what we’ll want to handle and clear up in order that improvements are related by the point they hit the market.”
Rising recycled content material and reducing supplies
Rising the quantity of recycled content material inside its packaging is a significant technique for Kraft Heinz in chopping virgin plastic use.
Making certain the corporate has entry to sufficient recycled plastic content material is essential to this method. “To make sure now we have entry to the recycled content material wanted for our packaging, our procurement companions work intently with distributors upstream to supply and purchase the precise supplies we’d like for our improvements,” the chief sustainability officer informed FoodNavigator.
Within the UK, Heinz labored with companions to create recyclable Heinz Beans Snap pots from tender plastics that have been returned to Tesco by customers. The food-safe recyclable pots are made with 39% recycled plastic. This pilot mission was set to recycle roughly 22 tonnes of plastic.
Heinz has additionally moved to 30% recycled content material in most of its bottles in Europe, the UK and Brazil.
Within the US, Kraft Heinz goals to interchange 15% of its US PET inflexible plastic portfolio with post-consumer recycled content material by 2050. Improvements serving to the corporate obtain this ambition embody its plan to transition Kraft’s Actual Mayo and Miracle Whip packaging to 100% recycled content material within the US by early 2024.
In working to get rid of or scale back plastic supplies, Kraft Heinz can be making progress. Within the UK, Heinz launched a multipack paperboard sleeve to interchange shrink-wrap. Within the US, the plastic ‘shaker’ bag was faraway from Kraft Heinz’s Shake ‘N Bake product.
Reusability can be on the corporate’s radar. “A technique we’re investigating reusable packaging is by partnering with Loop, a waste-free on-line store, to permit customers to responsibly purchase merchandise in refillable packaging which is collected, cleaned and refilled after use,” defined La Lande. “Our pilot started in Canada and the U.Okay. in 2020 and we expanded to the U.S. in 2022.”
On observe to fulfill sustainability commitments?
Kraft Heinz’s new packaging commitments aligns with earlier sustainability pledges made by the corporate.
Again in 2018, Kraft Heinz stated it aimed to make 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2050 as a part of the New Plastics Economic system World Dedication, launched by the Ellen MacArthur Basis (EMF) in collaboration with UN Atmosphere. Kraft Heinz is 84% of the way in which there, with lower than two years to go.
Different meals and beverage majors corresponding to Nestlé, Unilever, The Coca Cola Firm, Mars, Inc. and Danone additionally signed the pledge, however EMF is uncertain commitments shall be achieved by deadline.
Kraft Heinz’s packaging ambitions additionally align with its broader greenhouse gasoline discount ambitions: the corporate needs to halve emissions by 2030 and obtain web zero by 2050. “To attain our ESG objectives, together with to achieve web zero GHG emissions, we will’t proceed to do issues as they’ve up to now,” stated La Lande.