Packaging is often a consumer's first experience with a brand, so it needs to be as positive as possible. A major part of enhancing this experience requires brand-owners to meet consumers' demands for more sustainable initiatives. "At Ahlstrom-Munksjö, we are well aware of the challenges that the industry has to face," says Brian Oost, vice-president of foodpack marketing at Ahlstrom-Munksjö, the company's new name after the merger between Ahlstrom Corporation and Munksjö Oyj earlier this year.
"Now that we are one, we have even more strength to innovate and advance the capabilities of what fibre-based materials can do for the food packaging industry. Together, we strive to make our customers' business more effective and sustainable," Oost continues.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fibre-based materials. It serves customers all around the world through a committed workforce of 6,200 employees, including a strong sales and service organisation, and 41 production and converting facilities in 14 countries. The industry can expect to benefit from the company's enhanced strength and reach, including its improved service, design and R&D capabilities.
"We strongly support co-innovation with our customers and a creative approach to develop tailor-made solutions for the needs of tomorrow," Oost says. "The newly formed company opens up bold horizons for the food packaging industry."
Leading innovation, sustainability and safety is absolutely crucial in the packaging industry. Using natural fibres gives the industry increased potential to drive development to satisfy the evolving needs of consumers.
Fibre-based solutions provide a fresh approach to developing greener alternatives to non-renewable materials.
"Our NatureMold baking moulds offer end products that are biodegradable and home compostable," Oost says. "Made of paperboard and Genuine Vegetable Parchment (GVP), NatureMold is a 100% cellulose product for end products that are easy and safe to use.
"The material has unrivalled wet strength and grease resistance. This innovative tray is a good example of a green alternative to plastic or aluminium moulds."
The newly formed company is able to provide solutions that precisely meet the requirements of the baking and cooking markets, whatever the need.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö's eco-friendly baking solutions range from the 35g, two-sided, siliconised lightweight Aderpack, to GVP or NatureMold baking moulds.
"Whether for use at home or by professionals, just once or multiple times, in consumer rolls, rolled dough, pan liner or food containers, our products offer optimal release, greaseproof and heat-resistance properties," Oost says. "They protect baking equipment, resulting in gained time and efficiency to make the most of culinary creations."
Being innovative when it comes to sustainability is also about providing the right barrier so products can reach the necessary shelf life, or the appropriate level of protection against grease, moisture or oxygen.
More recently, advances have also been done to maximise consumer safety with the development of paper solutions to prevent mineral-oil migration into food.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö has developed Gerstar Mo, a one-sided coated paper that provides an excellent MOSH-MOAH (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons - mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons) barrier for primary packaging. It also prevents cross-contamination from mineral oils potentially coming from secondary packaging or transport.
Made from virgin fibres and suitable for direct contact with food, this new paper barrier is available from 50g/m². Printable in helio and flexo, it perfectly supports brand messages. Suitable for lamination, extrusion and coating, varnishing, and hot and cold sealing, Gerstar Mo is recommended for use in bags, sachets and pouches. It is mainly used for dry-food flexible packaging such as for biscuits, crisp bread or dehydrated foods.
Advances in sustainability come with the development of lighter paper grades, contributing to a reduced packaging weight.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö supports this initiative and has developed several light-paper grades. For instance, Gerbier HDS 35g for dry-food pouches is 12.5% lighter than a traditional Gerbier HDS 40g.
It is mainly used for dry-food products such as sugar, coffee, sweets, aromatic herbs, dehydrated products or powder pharmacy sachets. "It reduces the environmental footprint, while maintaining high performance during lamination, printing and converting," Oost says.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö now offers the market an even larger range of speciality solutions and services for food and non-food packaging under the brand-names Aderpack, Alipack, Coral, Coralpack, Cristal, Cristalline, Gerbier, Gersan, Gerstar, Gervalux, Grillon, NatureMold, Rocal, Rocalonde, Sulpack, and Unibake.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö's GVP, coated or calendered papers, treated or untreated, are serving the baking, dairy, confectionery, pet food, beverage and non-food packaging sectors.
"Through the strength of our merger and our commitment to innovation, we are excited about the many ways Ahlstrom- Munksjö will continue to drive sustainability in the industry," Oost says. "It's important to our customers, and it is important to us."