The product, part of the Foopak range including greaseproof papers and boards, cupcakes, bakery liners, heat sealable, PE and folding boxboards, taps into demand for halal products and, in the UK, growing scrutiny over non-recyclable/non-degradable coffee cups.
Fasting growing region for food packaging
Speaking to Andika Roemin, senior VP, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), APP, at Gulfood Manufacturing in Dubai (November 7-9) where Foopak Bio Natura Cup is on display, he said the event represents an opportunity to connect with buyers from across the world, in particular the Middle East and Africa which are some of the fastest growing regions when it comes to food packaging.
“The Bio Natura Cup is a fully recyclable and 100% bio-degradable and compostable cup that can be used across range of applications,” he said.
“It makes use of a bio-degradable aqueous coating as an alternative to a PE lining, ensuring the packaging is easily recyclable and compostable at end of life without the need for difficult and expensive plastic separation.
“The entire Foopak range is also halal-certified to the Indonesian HAS 23000 standard. Assurance that an entire product, including its packaging, is free from non-halal ingredients has become increasingly important to this rapidly growing market.”
Roemin said it took a couple of years to develop the cup, driven by global concerns over waste management and a need to understand the changing needs of customers and consumers.
“Bio-degradability and compostability are particularly relevant issues, especially in countries where the mind-set and infrastructure of recycling is still developing,” he added.
“The Circular Economy is about being as efficient with resources as possible and ensuring through packaging and material design that waste is minimal. The FooPak Bio Natura Cup is a good example of this type of thinking.
“However, with uncertainty affecting parts of the region, it is not always straightforward doing business in the Middle East. However, it’s a very diverse market, representing all levels of income and lifestyle, and with it comes tremendous business opportunities for companies of all sizes.”
UAE fast food sector expanding more than 11% annually
According to Euromonitor, the UAE fast food sector is expanding at more than 11% annually as food brands target a large and affluent consumer base (‘Fast Food in the United Arab Emirates’, August 2016).
In Egypt, despite high levels of inflation and adverse economic conditions the sector is experiencing rapid growth in the value share of hypermarkets and the growth of full service restaurants is encouraging consumers to turn to packaged food to prepare more exotic meals at home (Euromonitor, ‘Packaged Food in Egypt, Industry Overview’, January 2016).
“On the production side, increased connectivity and 4.0 has the potential to greatly improve efficiency: something we know our food packaging customers have much to benefit from commercially,” added Roemin.
“The real promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, is a mutually beneficial opportunity for the packaging and technology industries to work together. Not only does it allow the packaging industry to trial new features, it benefits technology companies aiming to establish this as a core feature of the modern household.
“The potential for where smart technology in food packaging could go is limitless. But we must be mindful of how consumers will respond to such a huge volume of communication. And we need to ensure the technology offers real value to consumers.”
Population growth & improving living standards
He said the two biggest trends in the next five years will be population growth and improving living standards.
“These will drive demand for packaging as people turn to more convenient food, but will also mean that as a business and as a society we need to hugely improve resource efficiency,” added Roemin.
“Maintaining the integrity of our supply chain is crucial to APP’s future operations. Key objectives of our sustainability roadmap vision 2020 (launched in June 2012) are to further improve our environmental performance, biodiversity conservation, and protection of community rights.
“We will continue our focus on improving packaging and investing in readily recyclable and biodegradable products. And we are committed to supporting brands to target new opportunities across the food sector, which we will achieve by continuing to innovate and launch new products that match the needs of consumers across the globe.”