Progressive Grocer

MAR 2017

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March 2017 | progressivegrocer.com | 11 gable-top laminated cartons, creating a new look for the products in the alternative-milk category. "e Ripple bottle is a fun reminder of the old glass milk bottles that would be delivered to your doorstep," says Ripple co- founder Adam Lowry. "It helps communi- cate that Ripple is a great alterative to dairy." Commitment to Recyclability Plastic also helps manufacturers up their recyclability game as post-consumer waste becomes a bigger issue in packaging. "We chose plastic because we've been committed to 100 percent recyclability from the very beginning, and chose our plastic polymers to ensure that the entire package as a whole is compatible with the PET stream," notes Livas. "It is critical that the materials we use are combined with the infrastructure to recover and recycle those materi- als," says Lowry. "at's why we are advocating for greater recycling infrastructure, and doing our best to encourage consumers to use that infrastructure. One troubling trend we see in packaging is the widening use of 'compostable' plas- tics. Without industrial composting infrastructure available at any meaningful level, these plastics are simply landfilled. Worse, they create a false sense of responsibility for consum- ers that their plastics are 'biodegradable,' when these materi- als are just perpetuating our plastic-waste problem." More manufacturers are adapting packaging to bet- ter ensure recyclability. "Consumers want to recycle, but sometimes we make it really difficult for them to do this easily," admits Livas. Shrink-wrapping, for example, affects recyclability. "When recyclable bottles are shrink-wrapped, they aren't recyclable," explains Chase's Lowery. "We're seeing more shrink-wrapping with perforations so they are easy to remove, and instructions on removing the labels." Greater Transparency, and More While opaque plastic is important in protecting the integrity of ingredients in the alternative-milk category, other healthy- beverage segments depend on transparent packaging to position their brands. A recent study from Chicago-based Mintel revealed that when asked to point out the strongest indictors of quality in beverage packaging, respondents cited chilled, glass, resealable and clear containers. Glass is often the packaging material of choice for organic/natural products that aren't light-sensitive, since it has no molecular, chemical possibility of contaminating product and cues freshness in consumers' minds. Retro glass bottles dominate the cold- brew and kombucha segments. "Within ready-to-drink, glass has always represented a higher level of quality," says Josh Groff, VP of marketing at Portland, Ore.-based Stump- town Coffee Roasters. "It feels more substantial to the touch, and at $3.99 to $4.99 for a single-serve coffee, you need [it] to look like it's worth it. We chose the stubby bottle because of its old iconic image, plus the brown glass protects the coffee from light and heat, which degrade the quality." "Glass has a key role to play in cold-brew coffee packaging," agrees Livas. "Our recently launched Black Label Cold Brew Coffee line is packaged in amber glass screw-top bottles." Translucent glass or plastic packaging allows con- sumers to see the texture of juice and kombucha bever- ages. When Monrovia, Calif.-based Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks, redesigned its recyclable plastic (PET) bottle and labeling, the company made sure that it was easy for consumers to see what was inside the bottle. "Our clear bottle showcases the vivid colors of our juices and allows consumers to see every drop of juice, including the natural separation that may occur in cold-pressed, high-pressure processed juice," notes Anne Williams, VP, Evolution Fresh marketing. Aluminum cans may be getting a second look, since they have the highest recycling rate of any beverage container, with 70 percent recycled content on average — more than three times the recycled content of glass or PET bottles. Craft beer manufac- turers are showing renewed interest in aluminum, and Califia opted to package its Nitro Cold Brews in matte aluminum cans. "Our disruptive, eye- catching RTD aluminum bottle for Nitro Cold Brew is unique to the category," says Livas. "It's not only a standout on the shelf, but is uniquely suited to Nitro Cold Brew, so we anticipate that others will likely follow suit and adopt aluminum for packaging." If past is a precedent, Califia is likely to lead the charge in that direction. PG "Within ready-to- drink, glass has always represented a higher level of quality." —Josh Groff, Stumptown Coffee Roasters Packaging

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