Graphic Packaging International has collaborated with start-up Mergulo, which produces a premium plant-based butter alternative, to deliver an innovative sustainable paperboard packaging solution that reflects the brand’s natural philosophy.
Plant-based food is one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors, with sales of meat-free foods expected to be in excess of £1.1 billion by 2024, according to Mintel. Mairi Hilleary, co-founder of Mergulo, commented, “Mergulo was born from the desire to create a plant-based butter alternative that delivered on taste, health and sustainability. Utilising Graphic Packaging’s expertise, we’ve carried our natural ethos into our packaging to create a point of difference from traditional dairy butter packs.”
The Graphic Packaging and Mergulo teams collaborated virtually to realise the Mergulo sustainable packaging vision, which, under normal circumstances, would have been carried out in-house.
“The teams discussed and developed many innovative features, such as a hinged lid, friction closure and pull-down front section for easy access to the contents. This high-level of innovation did not compromise sustainability. The grease-resistant board is free from standard plastic layers, and the one-piece construction has been designed to optimise the sheet and reduce waste. In addition, the packaging is widely recyclable within the paper stream in the UK according to On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) guidelines,” commented Tom Garsed, marketing, design and innovation manager at Graphic Packaging International.
The teams carried out extensive testing to ensure a fit-for-purpose board was selected, preventing the risk of wicking or staining due to the product’s high-fat content. This was important not only to protect and preserve the contents of the pack, but also to help build Mergulo’s status as a trusted brand.
“Many elements of this pack reflect the Mergulo brand’s environmental mission, such as the reduced plastic content versus standard butter packaging and the absence of metallic foil, leading to a more natural look,” Garsed added. “The teams have collaborated extremely well under challenging circumstances to develop a premium yet sustainable pack.”