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Colman’s switches from plastic sachets to recyclable paper pouches

As the brand’s new packaging can be put straight into the household recycling stream, this move could potentially save over 220 tonnes of material from going to landfill every year.

In the UK and Ireland, our Colman’s brand has moved to recyclable paper-based packaging for its dry Meal Maker and Sauces range.

The innovative pouches – developed in partnership with Mondi, a global leader in sustainable packaging solutions – are made using a paper-based, aluminium-free material that can easily be sorted for recycling at home. The packs carry the OPRL* (On-Pack Recycling Label) logo, which is widely recognised by UK consumers.

Our R&D team collaborated closely with Mondi’s throughout the development process, including overcoming the challenge of limited access to production facilities due to Covid-19. After we came up with a proof of concept, we conducted extensive line trials at both our pilot plants. This allowed us to quickly prototype and test the new material before scaling up. The whole process, from development to implementation, took just over a year.

The paper-based packaging will initially be rolled out across Colman’s Sausage Casserole flavour, with the full range set to have moved to the new material next year.

Colman's new paper packaging

This project covers a product portfolio which uses about 220 tonnes of packaging material annually. While the quantity of material is important, the main breakthrough is that the new pack can go into the UK’s household paper waste stream. This means it is sorted at the consumer’s home and therefore has a more realistic chance of being recycled.

“At Colman’s, we’re big and bold when it comes to our flavours, and we’re keen to make equally bold steps when it comes to our sustainability commitments,” says Fikerte Woldegiorgis, Foods Marketing Director for Unilever UK & Ireland. “The new packaging ensures that shoppers can enjoy the great-tasting product they know and love, with the added benefit of being able to recycle the packs.”

Now more than ever, Colman’s believes it’s important to offer easy solutions to add flavour to meals but in a more sustainable way, with 87% (Nielsen, 2021) of consumers saying that recyclable packaging is the most important sustainability attribute they look for when buying a food or drink product.

This latest move by Colman’s is part of our wider global packaging commitments which include targets to halve our use of virgin plastic and make all our packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

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The OPRL scheme aims to deliver a simple, consistent and UK-wide recycling message on retailer and brand packaging to help consumers reuse and recycle more material correctly, more often. It is currently recognised by more than 3 in 4 consumers and being used by over 650 members.