Australia's bioplastic heads to US

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: January 23, 2013 2:48 pm ET
Updated: January 23, 2013 3:06 pm ET

Image By: Plantic Technologies Ltd. Coles Supermarkets uses Plantic's eco Plastic high-barrier food trays for all red meat.

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Oceania, Food industry, Food packaging

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — Consumers at one of Australia's big two national supermarket chains bought more than 95 million Plantic Technologies Ltd. corn starch plastic trays in 2012, after the Melbourne-based biomaterials manufacturer made a commercial deal with Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty. Ltd. in May.

Plantic has now set its sights on the United States. Plantic CEO Brendan Morris said the company will establish new manufacturing locations in North and South America by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

Plantic, which manufactures packaging for fresh meat, poultry and pasta, launched in 2001 to buy, further develop and commercialize intellectual property developed by a government-funded research group, the Cooperative Research Center for International Food Manufacture and Packaging Science.

Plantic's eco Plastic trademarked high-barrier food trays are made from corn starch, lined with either polyethylene or polypropylene, depending on the sealing layer required. Trays use 80 percent renewable materials and have longer shelf lives because of their gas barrier properties.

Australia's supermarket industry is dominated by two chains — Melbourne-based Coles and Sydney-based Woolworths Ltd. Coles has used eco Plastic trays since May 2011, initially in selected stores in Victoria and southern New South Wales. Plantic and Coles signed a commercial agreement in May 2012 to use the trays nationwide. Morris will not say how much the deal is worth.

Coles currently uses the trays only for red meat, but Morris said Plantic is "looking at expanding into other applications," including other meats and seafood.

Other food retailers have shown interest in the trays. In 2012, Los Angeles-based Excelline Food Products LLC began using Plantic trays for its Mexican ready-made meal packages of flautas and burritos. Australian company Kerr and Co. Trading Pty. Ltd., trading as Farm Foods, based in Geelong, Victoria, began using Plantic's trays to package its Outback Spirit sausage range last year. Plantic is currently working to secure two new clients in Europe, with details to be announced February.

Plantic manufactures in Australia, has a development and sales center in Germany, and sales offices in the United Kingdom and the U.S. "We are working on a manufacturing strategy which encompasses both North and South America," Morris said.

He told Plastics News Plantic's main markets are Australia, North America and Europe, but the company is focusing on growing its presence in South America. There is growth potential in China, but less demand there for sophisticated packaging. Plantic will focus on China as demand for shelf life and sustainability increases, Morris said.

Plantic has accumulated A$53 million in losses since it launched. But Morris said up until 2011-12, it was primarily a research and development company that sold some product. Last year's Coles deal and other developments saw it transition to a commercial company that also does R&D.

Plantic completed a A$6 million expansion of its Altona, Melbourne, facility in May, Morris said.


Comments

Australia's bioplastic heads to US

By Kate Tilley
Correspondent

Published: January 23, 2013 2:48 pm ET
Updated: January 23, 2013 3:06 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Report: Brands are falling short on packaging sustainability

January 29, 2015 5:19 pm ET

Packaging in general, and plastic packaging in particular, has a long way to go in terms of recycling, according to a pair of environmental groups.    More

Image

2014 sees modest sales increase, but profit decrease, for Dow Chemical

January 29, 2015 4:20 pm ET

Dow Chemical Co. delivered modest sales growth in 2014, but the firm's profit took a tumble.    More

Image

Resin prices continuing to tumble

January 29, 2015 2:24 pm ET

The ongoing slide in crude oil prices is taking commodity resin prices down as well.    More

Image

Materials firms look for stock rebound

January 29, 2015 1:52 pm ET

DuPont Co., A. Schulman Inc. and Rogers Corp. thrived amid the stock market chaos of 2014, but the other 12 publicly held materials firms tracked by...    More

Image

Chemtrusion, Mytex Indiana compounding plant set for expansion

January 29, 2015 1:35 pm ET

Japanese and American partners in a compounding plant in Indiana plan to expand the facility.    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Automotive: Innovation & Emerging Trends

This special report newly released by PN and sponsored by The Conair Group examines current trends in the use of plastics in automotive, materials innovations and the changing landscape. It includes a review of legislative/regulatory activity impacting vehicle development and lightweighting, market opportunities & challenges for mold and toolmakers, innovative design strategies being implemented by major OEMs and suppliers, as well as a review of key indicators in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and China.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events