After an initial major rollout that began in Australia late last year, Mars is introducing a paper packaging pilot program to the UK, this time via the Mars Wrigley Research and Development Center in Slough, UK. This is the latest in a set of new pilot tests exploring different packaging options for the brand.
Mars is now producing the iconic Mars bars wrapped in recyclable paper packaging that are available for a limited time at Tesco stores. After extensive development work and investments, the company says the trial will achieve a significant reduction in plastic on the physical Mars bar—a significant step in its journey to innovate toward its packaging commitments.
“We are exploring different types of alternative packaging solutions for our confectionery products,” says Richard Sutherland-Moore, packaging expert at Mars Wrigley UK’s Research and Development Centre in Slough. “For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality and integrity of the product to prevent food waste.”
More specifically, adds Tracey Manfield, senior packaging engineer in the Global Packaging Innovations team in Slough, “We’re trialing paper packaging today to understand more about how the material performs in the factories, in terms of line speed and wastage, and also how it performs in transit from the factory to the shelf, and indeed beyond the shelf to the consumer.”
Following the trial, Mars will use the learnings from the launch with Tesco to inform other trials across the region, all in the name of the companies Sustainable in a Generation plan.
“We’re delighted to partner with Mars Wrigley to trial an alternative version of their iconic Mars bar packaging—aligning to our own strategy of removing plastic and packaging in our business where we can, reducing it where we can’t, reusing more and recycling what’s left,” adds Andrew Flood, packaging development manager, Tesco.
Mars works with Amcor on the Australian paper packaging project. Packaging World asked the company about supplier partners and material specs used in this UK project, but the company declined to provide details.
A Mars Wrigley UK spokesperson did have this to say,: “The packaging consists mainly of paper, but in order to protect the chocolate bar and give us the shelf life we need, a barrier coating is necessary. The paper material can be recycled as paper and is widely recognized as a recyclable material that is suitable for curbside collection across the UK.”
[Watch icon] Scan this QR code to watch a brief video about the project at the Mars Wrigley Research and Development Center in Slough, UK