Tesco’s own-brand grated cheese will be available in a polyethylene (PE) monolaminate structure developed by Coveris, which the companies say is fully recyclable.

The new packaging will replace the previous mixed, triple-ply nylon laminate, which the companies say is one of hardest materials to recycle.

With built-in barrier properties, the new MonoFlexBE format from Coveris reportedly matches current shelf-life requirements, while also maintaining packing line efficiencies. The companies add that the new recyclable packs mirror the functionality of the previous packs, with a resealable zip for improved convenience.

According to the companies, the new high-clarity format of the cheese pack can be fully printed in up to 9 colours HD flexo with a matte lacquer for a tactile finish and improved rigidity.

The companies claim the film also delivers a significant plastic weight reduction of 680mg of plastic per bag. Meanwhile, the switch to monolaminate material will reportedly help to remove around 411 tonnes of plastic into a dedicated recycling stream annually.

The product has been hailed as “both a technical and sustainable breakthrough” by Coveris, Tesco, and the manufacturer, Ornua Foods, largely due to the complex product and shelf-life requirements of cheese. Coveris apparently drew expertise from across its business to develop the pack, including its Winsford-based Film Science Lab for the film and barrier technology, and its Food Science Lab in Lincolnshire to ensure the food safety and performance of the new material.

Mark Robinson, UK flexibles technical sales manager at Coveris, comments: “To have delivered a first-to-market, fully recyclable monolaminate for cheese is a real win for us and a game changer for the whole industry.

“Once again, we’ve proven our capabilities in developing new sustainable performance films and if we can do this for as technically complex a product as this, then we look forward to the next challenge”

Denise Mathieson, senior packaging manager at Tesco, adds: “We’re really excited to have worked with Coveris on this new material, it is yet another step closer to realising our ambition of single polymer packaging which is much easier to recycle”.

The new recyclable pack is currently available across selected packs of Tesco grated cheese in stores across the UK, with a full category launch expected to follow across the retailer’s own-brand grated cheese lines.

As part of its ongoing sustainability commitments, Tesco has also launched a closed loop recycling system for PET trays in partnership with Faerch and refillable own brand household cleaning sprays in reusable bottles, along with its collaboration with Loop to offer customers reusable packaging across a range of items.