Dublin, Ireland-headquartered Smurfit Kappa has launched an innovative and sustainable new pack which keeps frozen and chilled foods fresh throughout the supply chain. Made from a 100% paper-based combination of Hexacomb and corrugated, the Thermo Box keeps frozen food including fish at temperatures similar to expanded polystyrene (EPS) boxes.
Smurfit Kappa was approached by Patani Global Food B.V., a global supplier of frozen and chilled foods including vegetables, meat and fish and non-food products for the catering industry. Patani ships goods from Amsterdam to worldwide locations, including to the Antilles Islands in the Caribbean, using EPS boxes. However, a rise in the amount of litter that was washing up on beaches in the region had led to a future ban on plastic waste so the company wanted an alternative solution that would not harm the environment.
While the majority of existing temperature-controlled food packaging solutions depend on using EPS due to its insulation properties, Smurfit Kappa’s new Thermo Box is 100% recyclable. The pack also offers greater flexibility than EPS as it can be stored flat, therefore reducing warehouse costs. Furthermore, different sizes can be easily created and the corrugated exterior offers good brand labeling opportunities.
The product is the latest addition to Smurfit Kappa’s Better Planet Packaging portfolio of products, many of which are popular substitutions for single-use plastic. Launched in 2018, this initiative seeks to reduce packaging waste through design, research and development and industry expertise.
Patrick Oostveen, managing director at Patani Global Food B.V., commented: “Smurfit Kappa undertook an analysis of our supply chain to grasp all the challenges and complexities. We did a series of temperature tests to compare the new pack with the EPS box and the results showed that the Thermo Box is a really excellent product that more than fits the brief. The average temperature was even kept lower for a longer time than when using the EPS boxes.”
Arco Berkenbosch, Smurfit Kappa’s vice president of innovation and development, added: “This project was the result of a successful collaborative process. Our starting point, as always, was to see how we could provide a completely biodegradable product that would not compromise on any of the required functionality.
“The paper-based Better Plant Packaging solution we came up with draws strength from its corrugated and honeycomb capabilities and offers significant potential for both fresh and frozen goods and, indeed, the e-commerce sector.”
The Thermo Box is currently available in a range of countries across Europe.