Danone converting some yogurt packaging to PLA

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: February 19, 2014 2:57 pm ET
Updated: February 19, 2014 2:59 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability, Extrusion, Film & Sheet, Thermoforming, Materials Suppliers

ORLANDO, FLA. — Global food giant Groupe Danone has converted about 5 percent of its yogurt packaging to bio-based polylactic acid and is evaluating other opportunities to expand its use of the material.

PLA is currently used as a replacement for high impact polystyrene the company’s Stonyfield Farms brand organic yogurt made in the U.S. and at a site in Germany, said Guerino Madeddu, rigid plastic upstream quality, development and services Americas for Paris-based Danone.

The move requires the work of the entire product stream to move forward, which is something a company the size of Danone can do more easily than small firms, Madeddu said during an interview at Innovation Takes Root 2014 Feb. 18 in Orlando.

With more than 20 billion euros ($27 billion) in annual sales, Danone has the ability to require its material suppliers to provide in-depth data on what goes into its products, so the company will not be surprised by a sudden media storm on some “hidden” chemical in its packaging, he said.

“Transparency is a requirement to work with us,” he said.

That information not only protects Danone, but also all of the suppliers in the chain, he said, since they all know what they are dealing with.

“Nobody wants to see their product on the front page of the New York Times in a story about a health problem,” added Nancy Hirshberg, the founder of consulting firm Hirshberg Strategic and a former Stonyfield Farm executive who helped the company develop its PLA packaging in 2010.

The interest in PLA for rigid packaging has changed, said Roman Forowycz, chief marketing officer for Clear Lam Packaging Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Ill., which offers PLA in horizontal form-fill seal packaging.

Four years ago, the only driver was that it would be a marketing angle for consumers interested in buying a “green” product, he said. Today, PLA also is starting to offer a more competitive financial prospect.

On a price per pound basis, PS is still cheaper, but because PLA packaging can be produced with a thinner wall and takes less space in shipping, it can be the same in a price per piece, Forowycz said.

Danone also sees the potential for PLA to offer greater price stability in the long run than a material based on petroleum.

Consolidation in the market also has reduced the number of competitive suppliers of PS to just three for Danone, Maddedu said, so the company developed a group to look at competitive materials that could fit into the existing production machines.

PLA is not perfect — for instance it cannot be used in a hot-fill line — but it can step in on many existing form-fill seal lines.

With that interest, Clariant International Ltd. of Muttenz, Swizerland, worked with Danone to develop chemical foaming agents that would reduce the density of PLA, said Frank Neuber, applications and development manager for additives masterbatches.

Using that combination, Clear Lam can produce packages using PLA that are 27 mils thick, compared to 36 mils for PS, Forowycz said.

Those kinds of numbers will continue to drive interest for major companies like Danone, which is aiming to expand its business in emerging markets, Maddedu said, and will encourage the company to look at more ways to bring it on line in the future.


Comments

Danone converting some yogurt packaging to PLA

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: February 19, 2014 2:57 pm ET
Updated: February 19, 2014 2:59 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Proposed Shell project draws more than 1,000 to informational meetings

April 17, 2014 2:03 pm ET

More than 1,000 people attended a pair of public meetings hosted by Shell Chemical LP on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major...    More

Image

Hedging can slow the resin rollercoaster

April 17, 2014 3:00 pm ET

The good old days — if they even ever existed — are gone, and.Andy VanPutte thinks volatility in the resin market is here to stay and...    More

Spain's Cristian Lay Group buys two materials units of bankrupt LSB

April 17, 2014 11:11 am ET

Spanish industrial conglomerate Cristian Lay Group has purchased two of the bankrupt Spanish PET packaging group La Seda de Barcelona.    More

EU moving closer to rules that will reduce plastic bag use by 80 percent

April 17, 2014 10:54 am ET

European Union countries could have to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags by at least 80 percent by 2019 under draft rules backed by the...    More

Image

Polyair rebuilds from Sandy with help from Process Control

April 16, 2014 4:11 pm ET

Hurricane Sandy gutted Polyair Inter Pack Inc.'s Carlstadt, N.J., plant more than a year ago, and Brian Clawson won't soon forget the devastation.    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