Paper Bags for the Oatmeal

Organic cereal manufacturer Bauck is switching to sustainable, paper-based packaging materials. The project, implemented in cooperation with paper producer Sappi and packaging machine manufacturer Rovema, demonstrates one of the possible solutions to the challenges of the circular economy in food packaging.

Bauck, based in Rosche, Lower Saxony, is a family-run company that produces flours, flakes, mueslis and baking mixes in Demeter and organic quality. The “Bauckhof” brand is intended to stand for the careful use of resources. This also applies to packaging, of course. Every day, around 139,000 packets of organic flours and flakes as well as organic baking mixes, and more, come off the production line in Rosche.

While product safety alone was initially the focus when packaging sensitive foodstuffs, Bauck was confronted with increased demand from customers for sustainable packaging materials: “As a manufacturer of organic and Demeter products, it is important for us to also offer more sustainable packaging solutions. Our customers are very attentive to this topic and have repeatedly requested this,” explains Hannes Öhler, Head of Marketing & Communications at Bauck. “That’s why we started to change our processes in 2019 and now use paper-based packaging for most products.”

If plastic, than mono-material

Not all products, however, were able to make the switch. For products such as Oat Pops, which readily draw moisture, it was not possible to eliminate plastic entirely. But it was possible to switch to alternatives, such as recyclable mono-PP, the company says. To convert processes to paper-based packaging where feasible, Bauck received support from packaging machine manufacturer Rovema and the paper experts at Sappi, who together supplied the right solution consisting of machine and barrier paper.

The challenges are not to be underestimated: Unlike stand-up pouches or flat pouches made of composites, the paper-based alternatives must be handled much more gently in the packaging process and during pouch production. Paper tolerates little tensile transfer here and can tear more easily. Much greater attention must also be paid to the puncture resistance of the paper used during subsequent filling. “In addition, in our case, the material also has to withstand quite a bit during secondary packaging, transport to the warehouse and then to the supermarket, where the product is touched, pressed, or even squeezed by customers,” explains Markus Stahl, Production, Packaging & Mixing Plant Manager at Bauck. Over a period of several weeks, Rovema and Sappi tested the interaction between the packaging material and the packaging machine in order to match them as perfectly as possible.

Recyclable in the paper waste stream

After several test runs with different paper qualities and different grammages, the decision was made to use “Sappi Guard Nature1-MS” in a grammage of 95g/m². The paper-based packaging solution showed a special mix of formability and stability when forming the paper bags from the flat web as well as the folding and wrapping process to the final, compact block-bottom bag – a type of packaging not previously used by Bauck, which proved to be appropriate due to the heat-sealing process. “Sappi Guard Nature1-MS” has an integrated mineral oil barrier (MOSH/MOAH) and high heat-sealability. “With Guard Nature 1-MS, the use of additional special coatings or laminations is entirely redundant,” explains Sibylle Hajostek, Market Manager Functional Papers at Sappi Europe. For Bauck, where special emphasis is placed on resource-saving packaging, the barrier paper is a sustainable alternative to multilayer barrier films, she said. “Guard Nature 1-MS can be recycled in the paper waste stream. It’s a significant advantage.”

“End consumers are very satisfied with the paper packaging,” notes Bauck’s marketing manager Öhler. “Since the introduction of the new packaging, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of plastic packaging used for branded products by about 80 percent.” In addition to oat flakes, other products such as spelt flakes and 3-, 4- or 6-grain flakes will also be converted to the new packaging as quickly as possible.

Various solutions also a topic at FACHPACK

The example shows that close cooperation is required between machine and packaging manufacturers and the consumer goods industry to meet the challenges of a packaging changeover for greater recyclability. Challenges and solutions for the circular economy of food packaging will also be the subject of the TECHBOX  forum at FACHPACK, which will be held from September 28 to 30 on the guiding theme of “Environmentally Friendly Packaging”. More about the program at

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