Dow says food safety and resource recovery will shape future of packaging industry

Dow says food safety and resource recovery will shape future of packaging industry

Dow innovates with new adhesive

The chemicals giant says its new all-polyolefin solution containing Adcote L86- 500 barrier adhesive retains freshness of the food for longer, whilst enhancing recyclability and cutting packaging cost

June 2018

With growing environmental and resource concerns, sustainability is increasingly important for any business to operate in a responsible fashion. This is especially the case in the food and beverage (F&B) sector, where the issue can be exacerbated with the limited shelf life of the produce. It is, therefore, natural that all members of the value chain seek to find innovative ways to promote recyclability whilst remaining cost competitive.

Chemicals giant Dow, for instance, has developed an innovative adhesive – called Adcote L86-500 barrier adhesive -- that allows PET, metallised and aluminium-based packaging structures to be replaced by an all-polyolefin solution which is easier to recycle.

“At the Dow Chemical Company, innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and now we have come up with a solution that has the potential to transform the packaging industry,” said Alessandro Corticelli, sales director Dow Adhesives, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

“It’s our new barrier adhesive that enables the replacement of PET, metallised and aluminum-based structures with an all-polyolefin solution,” he announced.

Corticelli: putting Dow’s all-polyolefin solution on a strong footing

Corticelli: putting Dow’s all-polyolefin solution on a strong footing

Easily recyclable in existing processes, the all-polyolefin package contains Dow’s Adcote L86- 500 barrier adhesive and was developed by the Packaging & Specialty Plastics business of the company. The packaging provides additional protection against oxygen and moisture, which in turn helps to retain the freshness of the food for longer, whilst maximising resource efficiency, cutting packaging cost, enhancing recyclability and extending the shelf life of food packaging.

Designed for medium barrier applications, the company showcased the first all-polyolefin packages to wide acclaim at Interpack 2017, the international packaging fair at Düsseldorf in Germany. These packages feature the new adhesive for aroma- and barrier-sensitive applications, such as coffee and cereal pouches, snack and dry pet food packs as well as wet wipes packages.

According to Corticelli, the development of the packaging solution was driven by increasing demand for material performance and functionality. Sustainability, cost effectiveness, brand differentiation, shelf appeal and consumer convenience were also key considerations for the food industry, he added.

However, the development of the new adhesive was not a task that was trivially accomplished. “While numerous challenges arose during the development process, the comprehensive material science knowledge that Dow has in polyethylene and polyurethane adhesives was the reason this exciting product could finally reach the packaging industry,” he said.

Fully useable with existing barrier film products, the new adhesive is also resource efficient and provides down gauging and layer simplification opportunities to cut costs as well as optimise processes. It also improves the flex-crack resistance of metallised or aluminum-containing structures, Corticelli revealed.

All-polyolefin food packaging made possible by Dow’s barrier adhesive

All-polyolefin food packaging made possible by Dow’s barrier adhesive

In terms of optimisation of processes, replacing the PET with polyolefin has yielded other benefits too. For instance, the use of Affinity Polyolefin Elastomers from Dow enables sealing at lower temperatures, thereby avoiding damage to the outside polypropylene layer and ensuring integrity of the package, he added.

“The barrier adhesive innovation, which was in my view long-needed by the food packaging industry, is the latest addition to Dow’s product portfolio. Not only does it optimise costs, it brings additional value as it ensures that food gets ‘Fresh to Table’,” Corticelli explained.

“In a rapidly evolving society, where customer needs and expectations are ever-changing, the term ‘Fresh to Table’ is more pertinent than ever. Not only does the new solution solve the various challenges faced, while ensuring freshness, in terms of food safety, it is an aliphatic system with excellent chemical resistance,” he added.

For the packaging industry sustainability is an important topic as more and more companies, as well as consumers, are showing increasing concern on the subject. Both end consumers and brands now see the importance of resource recovery in the packaging industry.

“This puts our all-polyolefin solution on a strong footing as it is completely recyclable as well as FDA-approved for food safety. Furthermore, with growing e-commerce activities in the segment there is decidedly a need for agile, robust yet cost effective solutions; boxes that we tick,” Corticelli said.

Dow, he said, has several innovative packaging solutions such as Innate, which brings high abuse resistance for food packaging enhancement; Agility to help run faster and lighter coatings; sealants such as Affinity to help run a faster packaging process with good packaging integrity; and Mor-Free and Adcote adhesives for efficient and reliable lamination.

“We feel there is always room for improvement and not only have we enhanced packaging processes for the F&B industry, we have also found a way to keep food fresher and safer to ensure the end customers’ satisfaction and well-being,” Corticelli concluded.

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