For a company with a large variety of packaging formats, driving a sustainability agenda is not for the faint-hearted, but Mars Food Australia is stepping up to the challenge. Kim Berry writes.

On the Central Coast, just north of Sydney, Mars Food Australia (MFA) is tackling the challenge of building a circular economy for all its packaging. 

MFA is one segment within the Mars business, a stable of companies still family-owned and with more than a century-old history of products and services for people and pets. 

Its brands include: Masterfoods; Dolmio; Uncle Ben’s; Seeds of Change; Kantong; Tasty Bite; and Promite. That range of products means MFA has more than 14 different types of packaging, ranging from glass to soft plastics. Some of the packaging solutions are quite complex, like the almost iconic single serve squeeze-on sauce, compulsory with any pie or sausage roll. 

That pack is quite complex, having evolved over time to include a lamination of high-performance plastics. 

For product and packaging development manager Mark Harry this diversity of packaging provides a huge opportunity to remove packaging MFA doesn’t need and redesign the packaging it does, all with an eye to closing the loop. 

Harry told Food & Drink Business: “We’re committed locally at MFA and globally across Mars to developing packaging that is one hundred per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. This is aligned with the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s national target, announced in April 2018.

“We know packaging is critical. It protects ingredients from farms to factories and finished products from store shelves to kitchen cupboards. It preserves the freshness of our products, which are in nine out of ten Aussie kitchens, and provides nutritional information and portion guidance.

“But we believe there is no such thing as a sustainable product in unsustainable packaging. And it’s this belief driving our approach and innovation, to maintain all the benefits while making sure our packaging can be part of a circular economy.”

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