NatureWorks wins food-contact approval in Japan

NatureWorks™ PLA, a plastic resin made from corn, has won approval for use in food-contact applications from the Japanese Hygienic Olefin & Styrene Plastics Assn., that country’s equivalent to the Food & Drug Administration in the United States.

NatureWorks PLA was developed by Cargill Dow LLC. That company’s Japanese operations worked closely with Mitsui Chemicals to achieve food-contact approval.

According to market research, 56% of Japanese consumers ranked the concept of purchasing fresh food in nature-based see-through packaging as “very desirable.” Of those consumers, more than 57% said they are willing to pay at least five yen more for products packaged in containers made of NatureWorks PLA.

“A majority of Japanese consumers want to be environmentally responsible and many are even willing to pay more for products to make it happen,” says Masayoshi Oku, general manager of Cargill Dow’s Japanese operations. “With NatureWorks PLA, retailers can simply switch out petroleum-based food packaging with corn-based packaging. And shoppers get all the benefits they expect from see-through plastic—such as freshness, safety and convenience—without the environmental compromise.”

NatureWorks PLA had been used as a flexible packaging material in Japan, for products like music discs and golf balls.

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