How people consume is undergoing rapid change. As consumer demands and regulatory requirements intensify, the packaging industry needs to find new ways to protect food safely in more sustainable ways. Eric Le Lay, President, Fiber and Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania at Huhtamaki believes that there is a game-changing technology that can facilitate this transformation: High precision technology to create smooth molded fiber packaging.
At Huhtamaki we want to do more. Our aim is to be a pioneer of sustainable packaging solutions. We take a material positive approach, ensuring that the best material is used for the right product. For us, fiber can and will play an important role.
Redesigning the future with customers
Fiber has been used in packaging for decades. Today, Huhtamaki is able to tap into its full potential by applying high-precision technology expertise to take this renewable material to surprising new levels. This innovation, combined with a high-level food-grade barrier, produces smooth molded fiber (SMF) sustainable packaging that offers superior functionality, keeps food safe, maintains its quality and eliminates the need for aluminum resulting in aluminum-zero solutions.
From ready-meal trays for Unilever, ice cream tubs for Carte d'Or, Sundae ice cream cups and lids for McDonald's, Huhtamaki has developed a wide range of novel, award-winning products to be used at larger scale by the world's favorite brands. This uptake by industry giants shows the success of smooth molded fiber packaging that offers consumers a more sustainable packaging experience while minimizing their impact on the planet.
To meet this growing demand for plastic-free alternatives for food packaging, Huhtamaki announced that the company’s site in Alf, Germany, is switching its focus from plastics to smooth molded fiber (SMF). This year, the unit plans to replace more than 2,000 tons of plastic with fiber. Huhtamaki's state-of-the-art automated manufacturing site will have the capacity to manufacture up to 3.5 billion fiber products annually. This represents the first such large scale production capability in Europe.
Redesigning a better tomorrow
Being an innovator means providing consumers with packaging solutions that will meet their needs and exceed their imagination. Innovation in the materials used, quick turnaround times for product development and prototyping, tailored solutions for specific business needs and transforming the manufacturing processes are some of the ways in which we bring leading-edge products to the market to open up new opportunities.
For our customers, we are their innovation catalyst and partner who helps them grow their business. Ultimately, we are redesigning the future of the food value chain together.