Five from Finland
Finland offers food for thought when it comes to packaging alternatives.Julia Helminen
Finns have a reputation for being innovators in packaging, also for the highly competitive and rapidly evolving food industry.
In recent years, in an attempt to create viable alternatives to plastic products, many local companies have come up with unique packaging solutions that are not only functional and visually appealing, but also sustainable and eco-friendly.
These five Finnish companies know how to get food packaging right.
Woodly has developed a groundbreaking material solution that promises to revolutionise both the plastic and packaging industries.Woodly
Founded in 2011 to explore the possibility of developing a fossil-free alternative to plastics, this cleantech company has come up with a novel carbon-neutral material that can be used for packaging food and everyday goods.
Endorsed by the professional community, the innovation is based on softwood cellulose from sustainably managed forests and mimics the best qualities of conventional plastics while offering a reduced carbon footprint and improved recyclability.
Aiming to be “the most valuable material brand in the world”, Woodly has gained both domestic and international attention. Earlier this year, Woodly announced its entry into the UK market.
“I believe that there is an urgent call for companies and innovations like Woodly that can bring sustainable solutions to the plastic industry and achieve a systemic change,” said Marko Parkkinen, founder and chairperson of the board. “Woodly has successfully commercialised its first products to European markets and is seeking … strong global growth.”
Jospak cardboard trays help to keep food fresh with the smallest possible environmental footprint.Jospak
This growth company from the town of Forssa has been helping the food industry to reduce both packaging and food waste since 2014. The company’s flagship product is a board-based tray that is fully recyclable and contains up to 85 per cent less plastic than its regular plastic counterparts.
Jospak’s solution for keeping food fresh with the smallest possible environmental footprint has been acknowledged both in Scandinavia and worldwide. Jospak has received a ScanStar 2018 Award from the Scandinavian Packaging Association and a WorldStar 2019 Award from the World Packaging Organisation.
“The EU 2030 circular economy objectives will bring significant new demands on food packaging materials, for which preparations must begin now,” noted CEO Janne Sokajärvi. “We are responding to this as […] we are able to produce ecological packaging on a larger scale. Jospak works strongly as part of a global solution.”
Huhtamäki's dedication to innovation and sustainability has earned the company a reputation as a leader in food packaging solutions.Huhtamäki
With over 100 years of history, Huhtamäki has evolved into a leading global player in sustainable food packaging solutions, including cups, trays, containers, cutlery and a wide range of speciality items designed to meet the specific needs of various food and beverage establishments.
Currently operating in 37 countries, Huhtamäki continues to innovate and is paving the way for a more eco-conscious future through collaborations with other prominent industry players. These include a partnership with Nestlé to launch compostable paper-based coffee capsules for its Nespresso brand and a joint initiative with Stora Enso to accelerate paper cup recycling in Europe.
“Our ambition is to be the first choice for our customers in sustainable packaging solutions,” said Charles Héaulmé, president and CEO of Huhtamäki. “[W]e have continued to progress on our ambitious sustainability journey and remain committed to delivering solutions that have a positive impact on the environment.”
This award-winning pouch made of Paptic’s plastic alternative keeps onions fresh and is fully recyclable.Paptic
Headquartered in Espoo, Paptic has developed a fibre-based, recyclable material to replace conventional plastics in packaging, including dry food packaging. The innovative material has been available on an industrial scale since 2018 and sparked a lot of interest from brands and retailers.
A good example is Finnish food industry giant Fazer. Its Moomin chocolate drops became available in the environment-friendly packaging designed by Paptic in 2020. More recently, a vegetable pouch created by Paptic for Puukin Tila, a Finnish farm, was awarded by both the World Packaging Association and Scandinavian Packaging Association.
“We want to make Paptic so big and well known that it will be like the Gore-Tex of package materials,” enthused Esa Torniainen, co-founder and CSO of Paptic. “We also want to make a solution for everyone and this way to maximise the sustainability effect it has.”
Carccu takes pride in providing restaurants and other businesses with high-quality, eco-friendly packaging.Carccu
With its name derived from the small locality of Karkku near the town of Sastamala, Carccu has long been committed to manufacturing environmentally friendly packaging materials using sustainable production methods. The product range includes takeaway food packaging, wrapping papers for meat, fish and cheese, as well as flower and gift wrapping papers.
Aligning its offerings with the global trend toward more responsible and sustainable packaging, Carccu places a strong emphasis on reducing the environmental impact of its products. For example, a major part of Carccu’s production waste is recycled or reprocessed into new products, the company uses solely fossil-free electricity and eco-friendly, water-based inks.
“We operate in a responsible and ethically sustainable way, and we are actively creating better, more environmentally friendly packaging alternatives,” stated CEO Lasse Borg. “We take the environment into account in everything we do; from start to finish.”