Sustainable Converting

Food for thought – an alternative to plastic packaging

Metsä Board technical services director, Matt Terry looks at the challenges facing the ever-evolving food market


onsumer preferences are driving the use of more sustainable packaging. As many as 52% of European consumers have switched a brand or product because of environmental concerns about how it is packed, according to a study conducted by ProCarton. This reveals a growing demand for safe, sustainable, plastic-free and recyclable packaging alternatives to serve and store food.

AN INNOVATION FOR FOOD AND FOOD SERVICE PAPERBOARDS To meet this demand, Metsä Board launched a pioneering plastic-free eco- barrier paperboard with medium barrier properties for grease and moisture resistance – MetsäBoard Prime FBB EB. Globally, brand owners and companies are looking for greener packaging solutions. Many companies have publicly made commitments to abandon non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2025.

Also, the EU directive banning certain single-use plastic items increases the requirements for recyclability, which further increases the demand for materials like our new eco-barrier paperboard.

The food sector requires barrier solutions that are easy and convenient to recycle, made from mono material, plastic free, compostable and fluoro chemical free. The demands upon the barrier can also be extremely varied in the food sector and currently there is no one perfect solution. There are also many specialist applications

that require complex solutions. Some of these we have solved by considering the packaging design in conjunction with the use of our eco-barrier board. Others we have solved with the application of additional coating technologies to further enhance the present barrier properties. At Metsä Board, we have been at the forefront in the optimisation and lightweighting of paperboards. This evolutionary process will, no doubt continue but some of the drivers are likely to shift. The current legislative requirements and environmental goals will change, and we will need to adapt to reflect those requirements. Metsä Board is continually looking at how we can improve our performance and products to offer better and sustainable solutions to our customers.

IMPROVED PERFORMANCE MetsäBoard Prime FBB EB has a medium barrier for grease and moisture resistance and is suitable for various end-uses in food and non-food applications that demand barrier properties.

Uses include fast food items, such as fries, doughnuts and fried nuggets, as well as confectionery and fresh items, including salads, breads and cakes. And, as it is safe for direct food contact and is free from fluoro chemicals with high brightness and a smooth surface providing excellent printability, it already addresses the present trends the markets require.

From a sustainable perspective it is

available with PEFC or with FSC and home compostable certifications, as well as being plastic free and therefore easy to recycle.


A number of companies have realised the potential of MetsäBoard Prime FBB EB, including several global brand owners. One has replaced black PE in chocolate confectionary packs, whilst another is moving its frozen range of vegetarian product packages from PE to MetsäBoard Prime FBB EB. In addition, several leading fast-food outlets are using our eco board for salads, clam shells and chip scoops.


December/January 2021


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