We are ardent believers that sustainability and recyclability must be considered during the packaging design stage.
Three years ago, the Bear Naked brand embarked on a journey to develop a new package for its best-selling granola that would appeal to one of its primary audiences – the environmentally conscious millennial. If successful, this pouch would deliver the sustainability that customers demand, while maintaining the feel, function and appearance that Bear Naked’s audience has come to expect.
According to a recent Nielsen report, half of the millennial generation considers sustainability in their purchasing intent. The report also stated that environmentally conscious American shoppers will spend more than $150 billion on sustainable consumer products in 2021.
Though the industry is well aware of the importance of recyclability, creating a recyclable package that meets a brand’s integrity has been a design obstacle that most manufacturers had yet to overcome. By partnering with Dow and Berry Global, however, Kashi was able to turn that vision into a reality.
The Kellogg Company, owner of Kashi and Bear Naked, also saw a recyclable package design as integral to its larger sustainability initiatives. With the older flexible pouch, consumers could ship empty packages to a recycling location. But Kellogg wanted to make recycling even easier by enabling consumers to drop empty pouches at local stores within the store drop-off recycling program network. The packaging needed a recyclable material that met these drop-off centers’ standards, however.
They trialed pouch design after pouch design and were met with failure with each one. After much frustration, Shannon Moore engaged with Dow, and specifically the company’s RecycleReady technology, to help make it work.
This non-laminated standup pouch design provided recycling solutions that traditional lamination could not. When paired with a Dow high performance sealant, the whole structure was able to accommodate high machine speeds and hermetic sealing. Most importantly, the polymer modifiers compatibilized the package’s EVOH barrier with polyethylene to create a film that’s suitable for existing recycling streams, such as the store drop-off program in the U.S.
Over the 18-month process, the three companies exceeded barrier requirements, improved the granola’s shelf life, and brought art to the science of sustainability. Berry Global’s film offered a window with excellent clarity to allow consumers to peek into the product inside. And ColorMasters used its flexographic printing to impart a matte finish that provides both aesthetics and heat resistance.
Dow, Berry Global and Bear Naked demonstrated how collaboration, innovation and a focus on end-use consumer needs can create growth in more ways than one. In the end, the feel, function, appearance, and improvements lived up to expectations. So much so, Bear Naked introduced the new flexible packaging to its broader line of fully recyclable granola products in August 2019 making its packaging portfolio in the U.S. truly designed for recyclability.