Made from a 100% paper-based combination of Hexacomb and corrugated, Smurfit Kappa says that its new Thermo Box product can keep frozen food at temperatures similar to expanded polystyrene (EPS) boxes.

The new product was commissioned by Patani Global Food B.V., a global supplier of fresh and frozen foods that ships goods from Amsterdam to worldwide locations, including to the Antilles Islands in the Caribbean, using EPS boxes.

A rise in the amount of litter that was washing up on beaches in the Antilles region had led to a ban on plastic waste, so the company wanted an alternative solution that, in its view, would not harm the environment.

Smurfit Kappa claims that the Thermo Box is “100% recyclable” while offering greater flexibility compared with EPS as it can be stored flat. The company also says that different sizes can be easily created and that the corrugated exterior offers good branding opportunities.

The product is the latest addition to Smurfit Kappa’s “Better Planet Packaging” portfolio of products, which seeks to reduce packaging waste through design, research and development, and industry expertise.

Patrick Oostveen, managing director at Patani Global Food B.V. said: “Smurfit Kappa undertook an analysis of our supply chain to grasp all the challenges and complexities. We did a series of temperature tests to compare the new pack with the EPS box and the results showed that the Thermo Box is a really excellent product that more than fits the brief. The average temperature was even kept lower for a longer time than when using the EPS boxes.”

Arco Berkenbosch, Smurfit Kappa VP of innovation and development, added: "This project was the result of a successful collaborative process between Smurfit Kappa and Patani Global Food B.V. Our starting point, as always, was to see how we could provide a completely biodegradable product that would not compromise on any of the required functionality.

“The paper-based Better Planet Packaging solution we came up with draws strength from its corrugated and honeycomb capabilities and offers significant potential for both fresh and frozen goods and, indeed, the e-commerce sector.”