Sweet sensations in sustainable packaging

Sappi supports Dutch chocolate producer with an innovation in secondary packaging

For the secondary packaging of its special “Tiny Tony’s” chocolate varieties into newly designed pouches, Dutch chocolate manufacturer Tony’s Chocolonely required a heat-sealable solution based on paper. With Sappi Guard Nature MS, innovation driver Sappi provided the ideal paper-based solution to the manufacturer. The substrate shows good printing results and delivers a high-value impression. But most importantly, it complements the company’s concept perfectly thanks to its environmentally friendliness and sustainability.

High standards at all levels

Dutch company and brand Tony’s Chocolonely is quite an exceptional chocolate manufacturer and has made remarkable strides since it was established in 2005. The company’s colourfully wrapped sweet temptations range from traditional flavours such as milk chocolate, to tasteful adventures such as dark milk pretzel toffee or white raspberry popping candy. However, the playfully designed products have a serious background: The company was founded by former investigative reporter Teun van de Keuken, who was committed to proving that producing so-called “slave-free” chocolate was possible. Tony’s Chocolonely produces and sells chocolate bars closely following fair trade principles and opposing any practices of slavery, child labour or any other types of exploitation.

With these high standards in terms of raw materials and production methods in mind, it comes as no surprise that Tony’s Chocolonely had a clear idea as to which packaging material its products should be wrapped in, clearly avoiding film as a base material. This became important when the company was looking for the perfect solution for the secondary packaging of its recently introduced “Tiny Tony’s”
portfolio extension – 20 small 9-gram chocolate bars which had to be packed into matching secondary packaging: a stand-up pouch for the retail distribution to different markets.

Julia Wienk, Sourcer at Tony’s Chocolonely, describes the challenge the company took on: “We started by packing the Tiny Tony’s in cardboard boxes, but as demand increased we also wanted to pack them in stand-up pouches for duty free outlets and in supermarkets. The challenge was to find a paper that suited our requirements: a paper on which we could print with a similarly high quality and which would be strong enough to hold 20 Tiny Tony’s.” Furthermore, the new packaging solution had to meet fundamental requirements such as Tony’s Chocolonely’s strict sourcing policy. Functional properties such as heat-sealability had to be guaranteed as well.

A long-standing partner to take on new challenges

In its search for the right paper-based product, the chocolate manufacturer was supported by two consulting partners: NOMI Co-Packing and Packaging Partners BV from the Netherlands. NOMI Co-Packing, especially, was ideally positioned to offer insight from its direct experience with this type of stand-up pouch, also referred to as “doypack”.

Due to their long-standing experience with the innovation leader’s product range, the packaging consultants very quickly identified Sappi as the ideal partner to produce the visually appealing pouches – since the sustainable wrappings for the classical 180gr chocolate bars at Tony’s Chocolonely are made of 100% recycled, uncoated and certified paper from Sappi.

Over an eight-month period, Sappi closely supported the process, providing the company with a variety of paper samples in different grammages for various tests and offering its expertise whenever needed. Finally, Sappi Guard Nature MS from Sappi’s paper-based and heat-sealable barrier-paper family turned out to be the perfect choice, as it delivered the best results in terms of strength, runnability and good printability.

Kerstin Teichmann, Market Manager Packaging Solutions at Sappi Europe, recalls: “Finding the perfect paper-based substrate for packaging the ‘Tiny Tony’s’ was a real challenge. For example, during the testing phase some pouches tore open at the bottom. Selecting the correct material thickness was therefore essential. Finally, we were able to narrow down the qualified substrates to Sappi Guard Nature

MS with an 80 g/m² grammage.” The first pouches developed by Tony’s Chocolonely (Sappi Guard Nature MS with an 95 g/m² grammage) were used for the “Tiny Tony’s” Halloween range in the US for the first time and have been used ever since for this particular market only. 

Sappi’s heat-sealable Guard Nature MS is specifically designed to meet the needs of the food industry. The sustainable alternative to multi-layer barrier films offers an integrated mineral oil barrier, which keeps the food within safe. And, thanks to its natural paper appearance, the consumer is given an impression of high value that ideally combines with the print image the substrate provides.

A solution that meets even the highest expectations

The decision-makers at Tony’s Chocolonely are delighted with the results: “Sappi Guard Nature MS is the perfect paper-based alternative for our pouches. Its appearance and processing features convinced us completely,” says Julia Wienk. Thanks to its recyclability in the paper waste stream and certificates such as PEFC™ and FSC™, the packaging solution complements the chocolate manufacturer’s concept of running its business with sustainability and consideration of natural resources in the foreground. Or as Julia Wienk puts it: “Ultimately, we want to ensure that whenever someone enjoys Tiny Tony’s, they’re making a positive contribution to the environment.”

The Dutch company is always focusing on finding sustainable solutions for people and nature. To save material and therefore natural resources, Tony’s Chocolonely successfully tested another member of Sappi’s family of packaging solutions – Sappi Seal with a grammage of 67 g/m². The paper-based material features a high percentage of renewable sources and shows great results in terms of runnability and printability. So good, in fact, that the chocolate manufacturer decided to permanently use it for the Tiny Tony’s retail pouches launched only recently.

For more information go to www.sappi.com

Written by Kevin Gambrill