Royal A-Ware converts cream packaging from plastic to carton

Royal A-ware Food Group, a co-filler for private labels and brands across the Netherlands and Belgium has recently switched some if its cream products from plastic pots to Pure-Pak® Mini cartons.

A-Ware is a traditional Dutch family business with a passion for sustainable foods. The Group’s commitment to have a positive influence on people and the planet, and to support retailer’s sustainable strategies to reduce plastic packaging, has led to this recent move to Elopak cartons.

The privately owned Group has 18 production sites across the Benelux. A-ware co-fills a vast range of fresh dairy and cream products for leading supermarkets and discount chains from milk, yoghurt drinks, buttermilk and cream. In addition to standard milks, the Group also processes and supplies organic and meadow milk.

“CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is core to the Group,” says Frank Vos, Division Director for fresh dairy from A-ware. “To us CSR is a matter of ‘A-wareness’ through socially responsible practices alongside flexible partnerships with our customers and partners.
“Customer’s requirements are our priority, and we meet the needs of retail brands with tailormade solutions in an efficient and sustainable manner,” adds Frank Vos.

Elopak has a long-lasting partnership with A-ware since 2013 supplying filling machines, blanks and closures including the latest installation of three new state of the art filling lines of which the latest is the new installed Shikoku S-PMF70UC for the filling of Pure-Pak® Mini cartons.
“The new filling line has enabled us to further grow in the portion pack and on-the-go segment, expanding consumer offerings and providing shelf differentiation.”

Despite strict Covid-19 restrictions, the close collaboration between A-ware and Elopak enabled the filling machine to be up and running one month early, with the first products filled in October. A range of fresh dairy products from conventional to organic milk, buttermilk, yoghurt drinks and creams for leading retailers. The whipped and cooking cream products were previously packed in polypropylene plastic cups with aluminium lids and have now been relaunched in 250ml and 500ml Pure-Pak® Mini cartons.

The landmark shift to cartons brings environmental and logistical advantages, in addition standing out with more pack facings on shelf. “With Elopak we have an innovative and experienced partner on our side. The new line is ideal for managing more complex portfolios and supply chains and gives us the flexibility to quickly adapt to new market demands.”

The new filling machine is part of the Shikoku Flex Series. It is a highly automated filling machine for precision and maximum flexibility, with efficient and hygienic performance. The 7.000 c/h capacity machine enables A-ware to fill a wide variety of products on the same line and to easily switch between products, carton sizes, carton shapes and openings, plus different boards, and barrier options.

“The new line is highly efficient in all areas of operation; it guarantees the highest possible output without compromising on flexibility,” states Kees Geelhoedt, Key Account Manager Elopak Benelux. “We see more and more brand owners and retailers opting for paper or carton-based packaging solutions to reduce plastic.”

Retailers in the Netherlands are leading the industry-wide move away from plastic packaging. Major Dutch retailers joined the Plastic Pact in 2019 which is committed to use no more plastic than necessary, recycle more, use recycled plastics in new products and packaging and move to more sustainable non-fossil-based alternatives. By 2025 they target to use 20% less plastic.

“We see a growing community of sustainably conscious consumers actively searching for products that are packed in an environmentally friendly manner. The switch to Pure-Pak® cartons represents a climate-friendly solution made with raw materials from FSC™ certified* or controlled forests and are fully recyclable supporting a low carbon circular economy. “

“A-ware is now guaranteed access to a wide and sustainable packaging range from Elopak for different applications and shelf lives,” adds Kees Geelhoedt. “Pure-Pak® cartons are predominantly made from wood, a renewable, regrowing raw material. Cartons have been proven to have a lower environmental impact than plastic bottles*. Due to their high quality, long and tear-resistant cellulose fibres, a carton can be recycled up to six times into products such as corrugated board, pizza cartons or shoe boxes.”

* FSC-C081801

**: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in 2018. The study compared 1 litre beverage cartons with commercially available disposable and reusable systems in the German market including glass and PET packaging. The entire life cycle of all market-relevant packaging was considered.