Soul Food – Packed in Paper
ALB-GOLD Pasta in BillerudKorsnäs Axello®ZAP Paper - An awarded concept
A number of factors; paper from sustainable forestry, low emission production, print with water-based ink and excellent recyclability convinced the jury of the German Packaging Award (”Deutscher Verpackungspreis”) to give the Gold Standard Packaging award (which is the highest award possible for innovative packaging solutions) in October 2019 to Alb-Gold! This story tells you how they made it happend.
What are your best memories of food? Cast your mind back to your childhood, coming home after an adventure filled day with your friends, as hungry as a bear – what was your favourite dish? Or maybe it was your days as a teenager, returning home from a party in urgent need of some great food. Or could it have been a night in your first apartment, a romantic dinner with the person you adore, what would you serve?
No matter where you live in the world, no matter how old you are: the answer is pasta!
The pioneer in Germany
This love story is now a fully fledged sustainable success story! The German pasta producer Alb-Gold decided to switch from plastic packaging to a more innovative paper option. The goal was to become the first pasta producer in Germany to pack its product in paper bags, to help enhance its brand on shelf. This strategy fits perfectly with the company ethos - to be innovative and sustainable. Alb-Gold uses the highest quality ingredients, supplied by local farmers and mills, to enable them to produce the healthiest possible food. With 420 employees in three production sites in Germany the group creates an annual turnover of €85m. Each day a minimum of 200 Tons of pasta are produced.
The question; how we can make a more sustainable pasta bag, have been a big issue for us for a long time. By choosing BillerudKorsnäs Axello®ZAP paper alternative, the whole package saves 65 percent CO2 compared to conventional plastic VFFS bags. A world of difference when considering the number of pasta bags we sell in a year.
”The question how we can make a more sustainable pasta bag is concerning us already for a long time” Oliver Freidler, COO of Alb-Gold says. So the idea came up to replace the existing plastic bags with a sustainable solution. At Fachpack 2016 in Nürnberg Alb-Gold also visited the Syntegon booth and discovered the Sealed Paper Packaging concept, developed by BillerudKörsnäs as the paper supplier together with Syntegon Packaging as machine supplier. Alb-Gold were convinced – this is the way forward! The machinery is similar to the long-established Vertical Form Fill Seal (“VFFS”) baggers which are used for plastic packs as well. A forming shoulder is used to shape the paper bag and the dust-tight sealing is made possible with a sealing agent which is only applied in the areas where it is actually needed. With this solution a package is created with a share of roughly 97 percent pure paper and only three percent sealing agent. This means the package qualifies for the general recycling paper stream so it can be recycled into new applications.
With our solution, a package is created with a share of roughly 97 percent pure paper and only three percent sealing agent. This means the package qualifies for the general recycling paper stream. It can then be recycled into new applications.
By choosing this paper alternative the whole package saves 65 percent CO2 compared to conventional plastic VFFS bags. The FSC certified paper provides validation that the wood fibre used in the paper is sourced from sustainable forests. And last, but not least, the new paper bags fully meet the demand of consumers to replace conventional packaging for a sustainable future! The paper bags with Alb-Gold Pasta have been in stores since November 2018 with great success – well appreciated by customers who want to reduce their exposure to plastic as well as the retail stores who are actively trying to offer products which reduce waste and lower environmental impact.
It took several years of development and close cooperation between two companies: a packaging machine supplier – Syntegon, and a paper material manufacturer – BillerudKorsnäs, to make the impossible, possible. The combined efforts resulted in developing the first dust-tight sealed paper solution for dry food products combining the benefits of VFFS technology with sustainable packaging material – the SVE with ZAP-Module and Axello® ZAP paper.
The secret lies both in the partial inline application of the sealing agent, which allows for tightly sealed paper bags and the specially developed paper. As a result, throughout the supply chain no dust can enter the surroundings and the product cannot be contaminated once the product has been packed. The combination of the unique forming shoulder, which allows gentle processing of the paper, and the enhanced mechanical properties of Axello®ZAP paper results in a solution that provides optimal performance and cost savings. Moreover, the packaging material ensures stronger durability than traditional paper while retaining its natural characteristics – from source to recycling – enhancing the customer experience. In the end, consumers and retailers gain enhanced product protection and improved shelf appeal due to excellent printability and the sustainable nature of the material.
 Alb-Gold Unternehmensgruppe Exposé
 IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute: Report Number U 5052