Past Opportunities 07.10.2020

What Uses Do Bio-Based Materials Have in Food Packaging?

Stora Enso is looking to make food packaging sustainable and biodegradable, by replacing fossil-based materials. Here are a few examples of what we are looking for.

To deliver and store food safely today, many solutions depend on fossil-based materials in packaging. You’ll often get styrofoam containers, plastic-coated cardboard, thin plastic film covering the top of a sealed package, and of course, it might be carried in a plastic bag. Stora Enso has advanced solutions to replace these objects with bio-based materials. However, some challenges still persist. Packaging materials need to be versatile (you can’t use the same container for coffee and a layered cake) and they need to satisfy food safety regulation, along with being recyclable or biodegradable. Moreover, supply chains, retailers and customers all have their own needs for the functionalities in the packaging.

We don’t need to elaborate on how large of a market we are talking about. Stora Enso is in a key position to ride the sustainability wave, with their broad and established supply chains, client relationships, and internal know-how on renewable materials. 

We are open to hear exactly what you have to offer in this field. However, if you want to know where the most interesting opportunities lie for us, here are some examples we find most interesting: 

Thin or Biodegradable Barriers for Sustainable Packaging

Existing packaging solutions make sure humidity doesn’t escape the food during transportation or storage. They also ensure oils and fats cannot leak through the package. Furthermore, the form of the package must be preserved to protect the food within. There are plenty of use-cases here, from preserving air, water, and fats to solutions that allow for freezing or heating. The current solutions on the market are mainly plastics that make up for over 5% of the packaging weight, which makes recyclability difficult and biodegradability impossible. Do you have something to replace them? 

For reference, you can learn about Stora Enso’s current offering in this area here. 

Renewable and Flexible Packaging for Food 

The flexible packaging material field is still dominated by plastic, bringing problems such as on-the-go-food littering. We are looking for density and moisture sensitive materials with an ultra-high barrier to replace current nonrenewable flexible packaging. Also bear in mind that the solutions do not have to cover all possible packaging ideas, but can also work for a specific niche of products. Are you working on something that fits?

Biodegradable Materials for Food Packaging

The examples above are all use-cases that exist in one form or another. The key is to turn these solutions into biodegradable ones. To help that, we don’t necessarily need ready package solutions, but even work with the basic materials will go a long way. 

For example, bio-based monomers can be used as building blocks for renewable polymers, replacing plastic with a material that does what plastic does. Another use-case is sealing materials, which Stora Enso would like to make biodegradable. 

You can read more about Stora Enso’s offering here and here. 

This opportunity is no longer open for submissions. See our active opportunities here