The soft cheese packaging solution developed by Amcor has earned a Silver prize at the 2020 Packaging Innovation Awards, sponsored by Dow. Amcor’s Matrix packaging offers a paper-based and paraffin-free packaging that fulfils the breathability requirements for packaging this product and which can be recycled in the paper stream.
Soft cheese continues to ripen after it is packaged, and this process needs to be managed through moisture absorption and gas exchange. Over the years, cheese producers have typically used paper packaging with a paraffin (wax) layer. While this offers some advantages, the paraffin can easily transfer to the cheese product, potentially impairing its taste.
In response to consumer health concerns, global regulation is changing to address food safety, particularly in relation to food contact. Derived from refined mineral oils, paraffin is currently under the microscope in the EU due to these suspected migration issues. Increasingly concerned with the source, hygiene and healthiness of their food, consumers are increasingly rejecting the use of products that can potentially cause problems.
On top of that, using paraffin also makes that paper hard to recycle. In this recyclable version of Amcor’s Matrix technology a breathable polyethylene (PE) film, which is composed of molecule chains bound together in a three-dimensional matrix, replaces the conventional paraffin-based structure. Choosing this technology can reduce the amount of raw material used while maintaining the same results as a duplex packaging structure.
Moreover, moving from a duplex to a monolayer structure improves shelf-life management as well as recyclability.
Amcor claims that its Matrix monolayer structure can extend the packaging material’s storage time up to 12 months compared to only six months for paraffin-based packaging. This helps cheese producers, which are often small businesses, to manage their packaging inventory and reduce material waste.
Overall, the production and use of Matrix can reduce the packaging’s carbon footprint by 28%. As a partner in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy, this innovation supports Amcor’s commitment to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025.
“Matrix is another move in the right direction for sustainability combined with performance – offering cheese manufacturers improved flavour control and recyclabilitym” said Michael Zacka, President Amcor Flexibles EMEA.
The Packaging Innovation Awards sponsored by Dow honour the industry’s top achievements in packaging design, materials, technology, and processes. In 2019, the competition awarded Amcor for its paper-based packaging for processed meat and cheese, PET bottle for Nestlé’s Coffeemate, a Cooler Bag for Molson Coors beer, and a pet treat pouch for Full Moon Pet.