UK baby food brand unveils recyclable pouch in sector sustainability drive

16 Sep 2022

Baby food maker Little Freddie has launched a fully recyclable baby food pouch and is calling for other baby food manufacturers to follow by adopting more sustainable forms of packaging.

Made from a single layer of polypropylene, the pouch veers away from traditional multi-layered packaging that uses aluminium sandwiched between different plastic layers.

UK baby food brand unveils recyclable pouch in sector sustainability drive
© Little Freddie

Whilst these flexible laminate pouches excel at keeping food safe and fresh, the packaging cannot be recycled by councils owing to insufficient resources, infrastructure, or technology to separate the multi-material layers.

“We hope to inspire other brands, not only in the baby food sector, but within the flexible packaging industry to join them in adopting recyclable pouches as well as quantifying their climate footprints,” says Little Freddie.

Alice Harlock, membership and services manager at On-Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) adds, “We’re thrilled to see Little Freddie launch the very first baby food pouch which has gone through stringent testing to achieve our Certified As Recyclable marque.

“As a result, it carries our ‘Recycle - Cap On’ label which makes recycling much easier for busy parents by adding these pouches to home recycling collections and preventing them from ending up in landfill.

“This innovation is a fine example of brands helping their customers to do the right thing by making recycling simple.”

Mono-material pouches are almost cost equivalent

Compared to its aluminium pouches, the mono-material pouches cost 1p (€0.01/$0.01) more so was not a prohibiting factor in the decision-making process, the company says.

Reckoned to be 20% lighter, the mono pouch is also said to save 0.1 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per pouch, with the firm conducting product carbon footprint tests to compare the two forms of packaging.

“With the help of CarbonCloud, all of the greenhouse gases emitted during the ‘farm-to-shelf’ journey have been calculated and presented as a climate footprint,” Little Freddie explains.

The London-based firm thinks it could save over 350,000 pouches from landfill annually – the equivalent of 2.5 tonnes of plastic through this new packaging.

© AdobeStock/ColleenMichaels
© AdobeStock/ColleenMichaels

No size or shape difference

Currently sold as part of a multipack, the new mono-material pouches do not impact the shelf-life of 12 months for both types of pouches. The firm adds that there is no difference in size or shape.

“The key difference between the two pouches is the green banner stating fully recyclable at the top of the pouch and the OPRL ‘recycle’ label on the back of these pouches,” says a spokesperson for the company.

“We are currently trialling mono-material for the rest of our pouch range. Next year we will be carrying out shelf-life validation tests therefore we should see mono-material pouches hit shelves towards the end of the year/into early 2024.”

The two flavours launching first are ‘Super Strawberries & Bananas’ and ‘Mighty Mango & Passionfruit.’

The pouches are already available in UK’s Sainsbury’s and Ocado. They are also available in a multipack, using FSC certified cardboard and are printed using eco-friendly vegetable-based inks.

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