Sustainability is a concern across all areas of the food and beverage industry. Beverage companies continue looking for new ways of creating sustainable packaging for their products.
Coca-Cola is testing paper bottles to find the best option for all its products. An important aspect of this testing is whether the packaging will impact beverage flavor and the customer experience.
Why Use Paper Bottles?
Paper bottles are more sustainable than plastic. Companies like Coca-Cola are working to develop more environmentally friendly CPG packaging for their products, and paper is a great option.
Companies use a variety of methods to ensure no aspects of the product are compromised. For example, taste tests will help determine how well the product maintains its flavor in the new packaging.
What Does the Testing Entail?
Both laboratory and consumer taste tests will be performed. Laboratory tests ensure the taste product profile will not degrade. Consumer testing will answer important questions about how customers perceive the new CPG packaging concept.
Questions asked to consumers will include:
- What kind of taste experience is expected?
- For what occasions does this new packaging work best?
- Are there any additional features that should be included in the new bottle?
- Were all expectations met?
The design of the bottle and the product inside must fit together seamlessly.
A prototype of the new Coca-Cola paper bottle was announced in October 2020. It is currently being developed at their R&D lab in Brussels, Belgium.
The paper bottle prototype is made of a paper outer shell with an inner plastic liner that is 100% recyclable. The goal, however, is to get rid of the plastic liner in favor of another more sustainable CPG packaging material.
Current and future testing on Coca-Cola’s paper bottles will include:
- The strength of the bottle
- How well it protects beverages
- How the package performs when cold
Are Paper Bottles a Practical Option?
Innovations in packaging are breaking barriers where sustainability is concerned. Though the concept of paper bottles is not new, it is getting a second look from companies that want to avoid using plastic in their CPG packaging.
These bottles must be fully recyclable. They are typically manufactured from a sustainably sourced paper outer shell that serves as a barrier for the liquid. These barriers are usually made of a recyclable polymer film or similar material.
The paper bottle concept is still considered an early one. The bottles must stand up to their liquid contents while not compromising the integrity of the product.
Early prototypes use an outer shell made of wood fibers rather than actual paper. The caps are typically made of pure paper or a biocomposite.
Coca-Cola’s paper bottle is only one alternative packaging approach they are using to work toward using 50% renewable or recyclable materials. They plan to reach this goal in all products by 2030. The company pledges to make all its packaging recyclable by 2025.
Consumer engagement is an important part of the Coca-Cola paper bottle project. In addition to conducting taste tests with customers, the company will continue developing ideas on how the new bottle can be recycled and what that will mean for consumers.
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