Wellman Packaging, the Sydney-based manufacturer of rigid plastics packaging, has launched itself into the sustainability spotlight today announcing a new ‘squeezy’ sauce bottle comprising 90 per cent food-grade recycled polyethylene plastic.
The innovation comes after two years of intensive work by the company, together with its supply partners, to develop the proprietary processes and polymer technologies required. The result is a squeezy condiment bottle believed to be a first in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
In a Food & Drink Business' stablemate, PKN exclusive, Wellman Packaging CEO and owner Craig Wellman said the company had embarked on this ambitious development as part of an over-arching strategy to move the business into a fully sustainable model for plastics packaging some years ago.
“We are extremely excited about this development. Like anyone who is passionate about the environment and serious about being in plastics packaging, we are doing everything possible to embrace the circular economy and the commitments to 2025. This is only one of a number of initiatives we have coming as part of our sustainability program titled ‘Future Thinking For Plastics Packaging’,” Wellman said.
Wellman Packaging has launched the technology together with a new proprietary hot-fill ‘torpedo’ Squeezy Sauce Bottle design suitable for tomato sauce, ketchups and other condiments like barbecue sauce, mustards and mayonnaise.
“The new bottle has improved features like better stability and brim-fill among others. Contrary to the belief that recycled plastics are bad, in this case we have a better bottle because of it and most importantly, we have been able to ensure complete integrity over the food grade quality of the new technology,” Wellman said.
Brand owners will be able to publish a claim that the bottle is using 90 per cent food grade recycled plastics that will be backed by Wellman Packaging’s independently audited certificate of compliance, he says.
Wellman is currently in advanced discussions with key stakeholders in the sauce and condiments category offering a 12-month exclusivity period. The company expects to close a deal soon to have this on shelves as quickly as possible.
“This is about the conversation brand owners want to have with their consumer,” Wellman said. “Consumers have really embraced recycled plastics and as such, this is a ground-floor brand building opportunity, the first in a category that is highly competitive between brands and private labels. We think whichever brand is successful in picking this up will really benefit. It’s going to be interesting for sure,” he said.
Work on this squeeze bottle technology will still continue after this first-round offering and Wellman says he is confident about moving the recycled plastic content up to 100 per cent over the next two years.
Wellman believes this new technology will become the benchmark for all sauce and condiment bottles. The company already has capacity to supply a good percentage of the squeezy sauce market but is gearing up on new equipment to support expected additional demand.