Industry News

Upfield has developed a new plastic-free tub for their plant-based butters

by | Jan 11, 2024

Upfield recently announced the launch of their newly designed tub which is for their plant-based butters and spreads and is very environmentally friendly. The new tub is plastic-free, oil-resistant and through its innovative and environmentally conscious design, it is fully recyclable.

The company has developed an excellent manufacturing process to create these tubs, which predominantly uses compressed wet paper fibers to form the tubs. These fibers are sourced from a PEFC-certified supplier. The tub’s structure comes with multiple benefits, such as being waterproof and oil-resistant, plus as it does not have a plastic liner it is recyclable. The new form of packaging has been granted permission by a leading European recycling company, to be recycled within the local paper waste streams. Along with this, the tub has received Conventional Plastic Free certification, which the company hope will lead to gaining home compostability certification by 2025.

This new packaging was developed by Upfield with collaboration from Footprint, MCC, Pages Group and Emsur.

The launch of this environmentally friendly tub began in late 2023 in Austria, when it started with the Flora Plant brand. The plan is for this launch to become available to a range of Upfield brands, such as Rama and BlueBand. This aim aligns with Upfield’s overall aim to replace an estimated two billion plastic tubs by 2030, whilst simultaneously meeting this figure with an 80% reduction rate for plastic within the rest of their portfolio, also by 2030. This aim was created and linked to this project once the company created a goal to replace more than 25,000 tons of plastic waste annually.

This development is excellent for both the environment and Flora, who at the end of last year, decided to unify its brand identity. This redesign was chosen specifically to highlight Flora’s commitment to using a plant-based alternative to regular dairy butter, which actively portrays Flora’s drive to protect both the people and the plant.

Group CEO for Upfield, David Haines, commented, “As the global leader in plant-based foods, we take our responsibility to make a positive impact on the world seriously. Globally, 40% of all plastic produced is for packaging that is used once and then discarded, it is clear that the issue of plastic waste is one of the most critical facing our environment. When we established Upfield, innovating our way out of plastic tubs was our moon-shot and I am very proud of all Upfielders that contributed to this success. Consumers today demand products that benefit both people and the planet. Our plant-based butters and spreads do exactly that. We’re excited about the potential to launch this across our most iconic brands in some of our most important markets.”

Head of Packaging for Upfield, Karina Cerdeira, added, “We are proud to have created with Footprint an innovative paper-based tub that is durable, leak-proof and appealing, which many thought would be impossible with paper. But after years of dedicated focus from joint Upfield and Footprint R&D teams and dozens of prototypes, we made the impossible, possible. This new paper tub marks a true milestone for sustainable packaging that significantly minimizes reliance on plastic. We will continue pushing boundaries through further innovation to adapt for compostability, develop new sizes and formats, and refine towards the optimal solution. We hope what we’ve achieved inspires other businesses to keep pursuing positive change.”

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