Mondi Kalenobel to start trials for plastic-free ice cream packaging

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Ice cream packaging by Mondi. Photo: Mondi.
Ice cream packaging by Mondi. Photo: Mondi.
Mondi Kalenobel is going to start trials to make plastic-free ice cream packaging that does not need a polymer coating, testing materials for push-up and squeeze-up tubes.

It has also commercialized a custom-designed cone sleeve with a clear plastic window so that consumers can see the sugar wafer cone underneath.

North America

ice cream

The announcement comes after Mondi’s acquisition of Kalenobel in Turkey in 2016, where it has been learning about the market and creating a managerial and sales structure to handle the business.

Christian Hoeglund, business development manager, ice cream packaging, Mondi, said Mondi currently has 10 sales people assigned to the ice cream business in Europe and Russia, and is studying how best to structure its operation in North America.

“We’re doing market mapping there now and we plan to appoint someone to head that market by early 2019​,” he said.

Mondi Kalenobel employs 550 staff and has its headquarters in Istanbul and production facilities in Kirklareli.

According to Hoeglund, factors such as seasonality, consumer behavior, and novel production technology tend to make the ice cream packaging business different from other consumer packaging sectors, and it takes time to absorb all of the sector’s intricacies.

In its report ‘Brand Disruption in Ice Cream’, published by Euromonitor in July, it cited a growth in healthier alternatives to ice cream and a rise of niche products such as alcohol-infused ice cream, and vegan ice cream.

There also tend to be country-specific trends. For example, in Italy, ice cream consumption is among the highest in Europe, but consumers buy the product from local kiosks, which means Mondi sells more paper cups in Italy than cone sleeves.

Eastern European markets, on the other hand, want a more diverse product offering from country to country.

Georgia, Ukraine and Thailand 

Euromonitor claims there is evidence that new players in emerging markets such as Georgia, Ukraine and Thailand can rise rapidly and seize market share.

Euromonitor said global ice cream retail sales in 2017 were about $74bn, and are growing. Europe accounts for roughly 30% of the global market, and consumption growth is driven by impulse purchases sold as a single portion in a stick, cone or cup format.

Mondi Kalenobel supplies ice cream cone sleeves, cone lids, paper cups, and push-up tubes, but Hoeglund said it sees room for further growth in all those product areas, as well as in squeeze-up tubes and push-up lids.

The previously noted seasonality of the ice cream business means, currently, about 50 cone sleeve machines run 24/7 for a couple of months per year and Mondi’s goal by 2019 is to leverage its global network to expand production and reduce geographical dependencies.

Cone sleeves consist of kraft paper plus aluminum, and Mondi plans to leverage its internal supply chain with kraft paper plants in the same group.

Mondi Kalenobel recently launched a custom-designed cone sleeve with a clear plastic window for consumers to see the sugar wafer cone underneath.

Oexmann & Co.

Family-owned sugar-cone maker Oexmann & Co. of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, approached Mondi in 2016, asking to produce the sleeve.

Mondi was the only supplier to accept this challenge​,” said Sedat Igbar, commercial manager Europe, Mondi Kalenobel. “And we did it. The first commercial products hit the shelves in May​.”

Oexmann, which first began making ice cream cones in Gelsenkirchen in 1926, ships the sleeves to Auckland-based ice cream producer Fonterra Brands (New Zealand), which is using them to package some of its premium cones.

The oval clear window measures 2.3cm high by 1.8cm wide and is made of biodegradable film.

Mondi Kalenobel further created a small, see-through window, laser cut to the outline shape of the New Zealand island of Kapiti on the cone lid. Fonterra liked the idea and Mondi is now supplying custom-made lids in addition to the cone sleeves.

We’re focused on finding the packaging even if it takes six months or a year,​” added Igbar.

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