Heinz announces its partnership with WestRock, which will see its plastic packaging removed from UK supermarkets and replaced with its paperboard Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve Multipack.

In January, Packaging Europe reported that Heinz had revealed plans to replace shrink-wrap with paperboard for its multipack packaging, starting with Heinz Soups as part of its “winter bundle”.

Heinz has now announced that the new packaging will be made with WestRock’s PEFC-certified CarrerKote paperboard, which it claims is recyclable and sourced from sustainably managed forests.

The Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve apparently uses no glue. The company adds that the new packaging requires 50% less material than a fully enclosed wraparound box and 10% less than a traditional paperboard sleeve design, as reported earlier this year.  

In addition, the new paperboard sleeve will allegedly remove 550 tonnes of shrink-wrap plastic packaging across Heinz’s multipack portfolio.

Patrick Kivits, WestRock’s president of consumer packaging, says: “We’re extremely proud to leverage the world’s most comprehensive portfolio of sustainable paper and packaging products to create customized, consumer-centric solutions.

“Our team worked in close collaboration with Heinz stakeholders to deliver a solution that would enable Heinz to achieve its sustainability goals and resonate in the UK market, while managing the cost and risk of this transition.”

After a trial on Heinz to Home, the company says that its new Eco-Friendly Sleeve will be available across the Heinz multipack canned portfolio, including Heinz Beanz and Heinz Pasta varieties.

The company claims that it underwent “robust” performance testing to ensure the Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve is comfortable, secure, and convenient for consumers, while keeping the amount of material required to a minimum. The new handle pack design will apparently enable people to carry multiple cans from the Heinz multipack range.

Jojo de Noronha, Northern Europe President at Kraft Heinz, says: “It is clear that convenience is important to shoppers – research has found that 59% of UK shoppers say that if a package is easy to carry or transport, it is impactful to their overall satisfaction with the product.

“And sustainable packaging has a significant impact, too, with 71% of UK shoppers agreeing that they are more satisfied with a product if it is easily recycled or composted.

“Grounded in shopper insight, we feel this new recyclable and easy-to-carry paperboard sleeve ticks both of those boxes and is the perfect eco-friendly solution for our multipacks.”

Heinz’s new packaging appears to be part of a wider trend for multipack innovation and design. Last year, Budweiser Budvar UK announced that it would trial Smurfit Kappa’s TopClip cardboard multipack topper for its tinned beer range, while Coca-Cola HBC replaced its plastic wrap multipack with KeelClip, a paperboard alternative, in its EU markets.

The new Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve packaging is a key part of the company’s ongoing commitments to sustainability and circularity across its products.

As part of its pledge to make 100% of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, Heinz reports that every part of its squeezy sauce bottle is recyclable following the introduction of new caps to its Ketchup range. The company said in January that it would deliver the “first” circular squeezy bottle to the market in 2021, a year ahead of plan, a target it appears to have now met.

The new Heinz Eco-Friendly Sleeve will be rolled out in major retailers from September 2021.