Zurich: Global food giant Nestle SA has developed new paper packaging for its YES! snack bars, a technology it hopes to scale up and extend to other confectionery products as it tries to make all its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Environmental concerns are increasingly influencing consumers' buying decisions, forcing makers of packaged goods to rethink the way they wrap their products.
Nestle has been criticised by environmental group Greenpeace for not eliminating single-use plastics quickly enough. The Swiss company has so far focused on recyclable or reusable packaging and has set up an institute to develop new solutions in this field.
"Consumers want to make a change by making a purchasing decision," Alexander von Maillot, Nestle's head of confectionery, told reporters on a call on Tuesday.
"This could really change packaging in confectionery in the future," he said.
The company rolled out paper packaging for its flavoured milk powder Nesquik in the first quarter of 2019 and will introduce paper-based pouches for its Milo health drink in 2020.
Nestle said the new snack bar wrapper, composed of paper and a water-based coating to guarantee the same shelf life as plastic, could be used on its existing high-speed lines that can seal up to 500 snack bars per minute.
Once scaled up, the paper packaging could be extended to other products such as its KitKat bars, but at this stage, Nestle's partners cannot supply enough paper, said Jas Scott de Martinville, head of Nestle's confectionery research centre in York, England.
"It is logical that it (Nestle) should start with the YES! product as it is one it promotes as natural and its audience is a younger, more environmentally conscious consumer," said Neil Saunders, managing director at research firm GlobalData Retail.
YES! snack bars were first launched in the UK last year with a range of nut, fruit and vegetable varieties, some of them vegan, lactose and gluten free, ticking all the boxes for a new generation of health-conscious consumers.
After encouraging results in the UK and good feedback from retail customers, the bars will now be available in more than a dozen European countries, including Germany and Ireland, Nestle said.