Chocolate manufacturer Ritter Sport has had customers test a new type of paper packaging and has drawn a positive balance. Despite this, however, a market launch in the near future is not to be expected – because paper still poses challenges as a packaging material for chocolate.
In January, the Waldenbuch-based producer drew lots to pick out 500 testers from among 24,000 interested parties to evaluate the newly developed paper packaging. Ritter Sport has been looking for alternatives to the established plastic film for quite some time now. Unlike other flexible films, this is made of the mono-material polypropylene and is therefore recyclable. In practice, however, the recycling rate is low, partly because in many countries there is no possibility of recycling at all.
The test results confirm the manufacturer’s efforts in this direction. The vast majority of customers (80 percent) said that the subject of packaging was highly relevant to them. Paper is evidently a packaging solution that convinces many. 94 percent consider it to be the most sustainable, and 77 percent prefer the “in paper” version over the current plastic packaging.
“Not yet the perfect solution”
However, the test also showed that customers are not only interested in sustainability. 42 percent stated that the packaging material had to be tear-resistant, 27 percent attach importance to the established folding function and resealability. In any case, there is still a long way to go before the packaging prototype is ready for the market, and Ritter Sport leaves no doubt about that. “We still have a challenge or two ahead of us,” says the blog. After all, with a greasy product like chocolate, paper has its problems.
Although Ritter Sport uses a special paper with a barrier coating on the inside that, according to the company, does not reduce the recyclability, the product also needs to be protected against external influences. For example, the tested packaging solution has a shorter shelf life than plastic film. “We don’t have the perfect solution yet,” admits Ritter Sport in the blog and announces that it intends to “develop, improve, and test” further in the coming months.