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 Oceania, Consumer Products, 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

Producers urge booming Brazilian housing market to use EPS

April 18, 2014 1:08 pm ET

Leaders in Brazil's plastics industry are asking lawmakers to mandate the use of expandable polystyrene (the raw material for expanded EPS) in new...    More

Image

'Thermoforming has nearly limitless possibilities'

April 18, 2014 12:54 pm ET

Julie McAlindon of PolyOne Corp. speaks about the future of thermoforming and the integration of Spartech Corp.    More

Image

Ascend targets nylon for auto applications, opening propylene monomer unit in Texas

April 18, 2014 10:57 am ET

Materials firm Ascend Performance Materials Inc. is in full operation at its new nylon 6/6 compounding line in Florida and will break ground by the...    More

Dutch company launching $100 million PP, PE recycling plant

April 18, 2014 10:42 am ET

Quality Circular Polymers is building a new plastics recycling operation in Geleen, the Netherlands' Chemelot industrial chemical site, with a...    More

Lumena suspends trading, delays report amid claims of 'misrepresenting' financials

April 18, 2014 10:19 am ET

China Lumena New Materials Corp., which says it has the world's largest manufacturing capacity for polyphenylene sulfide resin, has suspended its stoc...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events