Coca-Cola Tests Paper Bottles

A pilot project in Hungary is set to bring Coca-Cola one step closer to using paper bottles: In collaboration with the Hungarian online supermarket kifli.hu, consumer tests with the plant-based beverage brand AdeZ are to start in the summer of 2021.

In the summer of 2021 consumers are expected to hold for the first time a prototype of a beverage in a paper bottle from Coca-Cola in their hands. The new packaging format is being tested in Hungary with the AdeZ brand, a plant-based beverage. Coca-Cola had already presented a first prototype of the bottle last year. The project is now to enter the consumer testing phase. The aim is to find out how the packaging proves itself in practice and how it can be improved. To this end, 2,000 bottles will be offered to customers of the Hungarian online food retailer kifli.hu.

The new paper bottle prototype is being developed through a partnership between scientists at Coca-Cola’s Brussels Research and Development Laboratories and The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco). Paboco, a Danish start-up, is supported by ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs. Partners in Paboco’s development work also include Carlsberg, L’Oréal and The Absolut Company.

Still in the development phase

The technology developed by Paboco aims to produce 100 percent recyclable bottles made from sustainably sourced wood with a bio-based material barrier, suitable for carbonated and still beverages, among others. The current prototype consists of a paper shell with a recyclable plastic liner and cap. Ultimately, however, the goal is to develop a bottle without the plastic liner that can be recycled like paper.

“The trial is a milestone for us in our quest to develop a paper bottle,” said Daniela Zahariea, director of technical supply chain & innovation at Coca-Cola Europe. At the same time, Stijn Franssen, EMEA R&D Packaging Innovation Manager at Coca-Cola and leader of the project, emphasized that the new technology is still under development. “This is new technology and we are moving in uncharted territory. We have to invent the technical solutions as we go along.”