Plant drinks: Which carton fits best?

A recent study underlines that consumers in Germany want the most environmentally friendly carton packaging possible when buying plant-based milk alternatives.

Study underlines that consumers want the most environmentally friendly carton packaging possible
© Elopak GmbH. Eye-catching cartons on the shelf
Source:  Company news

Complete recyclability and a low plastic content are fundamentally important. Natural brown, unbleached beverage cartons perform better than white ones. And: the lower the CO2 footprint, the more attractive the carton. The study also makes clear that gable-top cartons stand out the most on the shelf because of their special shape. The quantitative online survey was commissioned by Elopak and conducted in Germany in December 2022 by the market research company Kantar Group.

Within the scope of the study, 83 percent of the respondents stated that sustainable packaging for plant-based drinks was important or very important to them. 47 percent look for complete recyclability in the packaging, 40 percent want as little plastic as possible. According to the survey, a natural look with a natural brown board suits the plant drink segment best. New technological solutions that further increase the environmental friendliness of the carton also increase its acceptance. Alu-free cartons, where in addition the plastics are completely based on renewable materials, score best in the survey due to their reduced CO2 emissions by up to 50 per cent.

Astrid Näscher, Marketing Director Europe North, at Elopak comments: "For us, these results clearly show that consumers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly packaging from manufacturers, especially in this segment. If ecological benefits - for example concrete CO2 savings - are clearly communicated, brands can gain a competitive advantage. This also works through the visual appearance of the carton. The unmistakable silhouette of a gable carton adds value to the brand image. On the one hand, the Pure-Pak® gable top carton is perceived as more attractive and convenient, and on the other hand, the carton stands out from the crowd of competitors."

Customers will find numerous innovations at Elopak that make the ecologically beneficial gable top carton even more environmentally friendly. For example, the Natural Brown Board cartons for fresh and aseptically filled products. Alternative plastics based on tall oil are also available. For chilled products, customers can also do without the plastic closure altogether. Alternatively, Elopak already offers the Pure-TwistFlipTM, a closure cap that remains reliably connected to the packaging throughout its service life. This ensures proper disposal of the lid so that littering can be reduced. Recently available for shelf-stable products is the Pure-Pak® eSense carton. This carton eliminates the aluminium barrier and allows CO2 savings of up to 50 per cent. It still meets all the requirements for aseptic filling and long shelf-life outside the cold chain.

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