Industry News

Albert Heijn to become the first supermarket chain to use Avantium’s PEF packaging for own-brand products

by | Nov 22, 2023

Albert Heijn, a supermarket chain, have made an agreement with Avantium N.V., a technology company focused on sustainable chemistry, which involves Albert Heijn stocking own brand products packaged in Avantium’s innovative alternative packaging.

This transition to more sustainable packaging will occur through Refresco, who is a global independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National and Emerging (GNE) brands and retailers. Refresco are the producers of Albert Heijn’s fruit juice bottles, which will now be manufactured out of PEF, once the PEF is operational. This will make the new bottles the first PEF forms of packaging to be introduced to Albert Heijn stores and will make Albert Heijn the first supermarket chain in the world to stock own-brand products packaged in PEF.

Avantaium’s PEF is a huge breakthrough for the packaging industry, as the innovative new packaging method is 100% plant-based and is a fully recyclable polymer. The material can be applied to a wide range of products such as bottles, packaging, films and textiles. Avantium’s PEF has multiple benefits, including better barrier properties compared to regular packaging materials, which means that the products it packages gain the advantage of a longer shelf life. Due to the success the company has had so far, Avantium has announced that they have begun construction on the world’s first commercial plant in Delfzijl. The key purpose of this plant is to produce 5 kilotons of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is the base material required to generate PEF. This plant is expected to begin commercial production during the second half of 2024.

The next stages for this project after the plant begins commercial production, will be to increase the production of FDCA to 100 kilotons and to continue increasing this amount, in order to create large-scale production of FDCA and consequently PEF.

CEO of Avantium, Tom van Aken, commented, “We are proud that Albert Heijn is the first supermarket chain to start using PEF for packaging. With Albert Heijn as a partner, Avantium can further scale up and expand the PEF value chain to meet the growing global demand for circular and renewable material solutions. This is what the materials transition is about: ensuring that consumers can access sustainable and innovative products on a commercial scale.”

CEO of Albert Heijn, Marit van Egmond, said, “From the mission ‘Together we make eating better the easy choice. For everyone.’, Albert Heijn wants to pass on a liveable earth to future generations. To make that possible, one of our goals is to make packaging more sustainable. Besides packaging reduction, recyclability and reuse, fossil-free materials are high on our wish list. With the use of PEF, we are giving substance to this.”

Managing Director of Refresco, Benelux Alexander van Assouw, added, “As a beverage solutions provider, we are continuously looking for innovative ways to produce soft drinks, fruit juices and other drinks. Reducing, recycling and making packaging more sustainable is an important element of our strategy. With PEF we are able to offer an alternative sustainable packaging solution to our customers. We are therefore pleased that Refresco, Avantium and Albert Heijn are now working together to bring this new fruit juice bottle to market.”

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