Sustainable packs created for plant-based butter alternative

GRAPHIC Packaging has teamed up with start-up business Mergulo, which produces a plant-based butter alternative, to deliver a new paperboard packaging solution.

The firm said plant-based food is one of the UK’s fastest-growing sectors, highlighting research by Mintel which predicted sales of meat-free foods are expected to be in excess of £1.1 billion by 2024.

Mairi Hilleary, co-founder of Mergulo, said, “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 on the project which, under normal circumstances, would have been carried out in-house.

Tom Garsed, marketing, design and innovation manager at Graphic Packaging, explained, “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.”

Testing was carried out to ensure a ‘fit-for-purpose’ board was selected, preventing the risk of wicking or staining due to the product’s high-fat content.

“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.”