UPM Specialty Papers and Fazer develop a recyclable packaging solution without a plastic lining

UPM Specialty Papers and Fazer have jointly developed a new type of packaging for Fazer’s Oat Rice Pies. Traditional plastic laminated packaging paper has been replaced with an innovative paper solution, which is easier to recycle and does not compromise the protection it provides the rice pies inside. The award-winning packaging has been recognized in the WorldStar, ScanStar and New Wood competitions and can already be found in the chill food aisles of Finnish supermarkets.

The new Fazer Oat Rice Pie packaging is in line with both Fazer’s Sustainable Packaging Vision and UPM’s Biofore strategy. The new packaging solution is the result of more than two years of long-term development work to ensure the recyclability of the packaging without compromising food safety and the quality of the rice pies.

“We are working closely with the packaging value chain to achieve Fazer’s responsible packaging goals. Each partner brings valuable expertise to the development work. This project combined Fazer’s expertise in food production and the production process while also ensuring food safety, with UPM Specialty Papers’ expertise in developing demanding specialty papers. We are impressed with how well the new, easier to recycle packaging protects and preserves the high quality of the Oat Rice Pies until the best before date. The packaging solution works on our existing packaging process and achieves all this by reducing fossil-based materials,” says Piia Soininen-Tengvall, Fazer’s Director of Packaging Development.

Food packaging has protective properties that have traditionally been provided by plastic packaging or by laminating plastic to the surface of paper. The use of plastic has also enabled the package to be sealed with heat.

In the packaging paper developed by UPM Specialty Papers, both the barrier and heat seal properties have been incorporated into the packaging paper without a separate layer of plastic lamination. The barrier properties are designed to protect the product inside the package until the best-before date, while ensuring that, for example, grease in the product cannot penetrate the package.

“Packaging papers have the advantage of being recyclable within a widely established fibre recycling infrastructure. Today, more than 80 percent of the fibre-based packaging material used in Europe is recycled. Our product development is always based on the premise of ensuring recyclability, in addition to ensuring product safety and the required functional properties,” says Susanna Hyrkäs, Senior Manager, Sustainability, UPM Specialty Papers.

The new Oat Rice Pies packaging is based on the UPM ConfidioTM barrier paper, which is heat-sealable. In recyclability test, the recycling reject of unprinted UPM Confidio paper is about 1 percent, which means that about 99 percent of the paper can be used to create new, recycled products. The recycling reject of plastic-coated paper packaging is significantly higher.

The Oat Rice Pie is baked at Fazer Bakery’s Lappeenranta bakery. For more than 20 years, the bakery has provided Finnish delicacies such as Imatra rice pies and Vuoksi rice pies. The Lappeenranta bakery employs a total of 90 people and is a major employer in the region.

UPM Confidio packaging paper has been developed in cooperation between UPM Jämsänkoski mill and the UPM Research Centre in Lappeenranta.