Huhtamaki has launched its new ICON paper packaging technology, primarily designed for ice cream containers and lids, with QR codes providing North American consumers with additional information about sustainability.

A supposed combination of water-based barrier coating with SFI-certified paperboard results in a total of 95% renewable biobased material – thus making the packaging just as recyclable as folded carton packaging, the company suggests.

Kevin Gunning, senior vice president of Consumer Goods at Huhtamaki North America, explains: “ICON packaging uses capabilities from the Huhtamaki’s Connected Packaging solutions, with a QR code integrated into the packaging design which directs consumers to the ICON landing page, to help inform and increase understanding on the sustainability benefits of ICON packaging.

“This includes how we use responsibly sourced paper board, design packaging for circularity, harness ground-breaking technology, and take practical steps to ensure that we regenerate value through recycling.

“Connected Packaging is part of Huhtamaki’s digitalization strategy to provide a communication and marketing platform for customers, to support consumer education and enable improved waste management through increased recycling.”

“Our paper-based technology and barrier solutions are the key differentiators in ICON ice cream packaging,” adds Ann O’Hara, president of Huhtamaki North America. “The technology allows ice cream packaging to enter the existing North American recycling stream more easily.

“At Huhtamaki we are driven by innovation and operational excellence, designing for circularity, and developing next-generation innovation.

“Our teams use their expertise in barrier functionality, paper forming and printing to drive differentiation and deliver game-changing sustainable food packaging to our customers.”

Huhtamaki hopes that ICON packaging will contribute to its goal of ensuring complete recyclability, compostability, or reusability of all its packaging by 2030, as well as complete carbon-neutral packaging production.

QR codes have been implemented onto packaging for a variety of reasons, including security – as was the case with Geek Bar, whose QR-coded vape packaging is intended to prevent counterfeiting or non-compliance.

Meanwhile, Zappar launched its Zapvision QR technology in the hopes of making shopping a more accessible experience for visually-impaired consumers.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Uppsala University examined the possibilities of Data-Enriched Edible Pharmaceuticals, said to enable personalised medical care by printing QR codes directly onto prescribed pills.

Cathy Teasdale, co-founder of !mpatience, emphasised the importance of educating consumers about sustainability in order to meet companies’ sustainability targets.