HKScan has committed to have all packaging for its products to be recyclable by the end of 2025, at the latest.
At the same time, the company will reduce the carbon footprint of packaging by 20 percent and decrease the amount of packaging plastic by 20 percent when compared to 2019. In total, the use of plastic will be reduced by millions of kilos.
"Our ambitious goals mean that the packaging of many branded products familiar to consumers, such as HK, Kariniemen, Scan and Rakvere, will be renewed in the next few years. We are examining and experimenting new packaging materials, reducing the amount of packaging material and ensuring recyclability," said Jalliina Järvinen-Teräsvuori, HKScan vice president for packaging development.
The primary purpose of packaging remains the same -- to protect foods. A good package is part of ensuring quality and product safety. Functional packaging also reduces food waste, explained Järvinen-Teräsvuori.
"Developing packaging responsibility is not always straightforward. For example, sometimes a new packaging alternative may reduce the carbon footprint but at the same time make recycling more difficult. In addition to our goals, our work is driven by consumer expectations, country-specific and EU legislation, and companies’ rising recycling and waste fees. Innovations and cooperation are needed to make packaging genuinely more responsible," Järvinen-Teräsvuori said.
With environmentally friendly packaging, HKScan responds to consumers’ need to make responsible grocery shopping choices. HKScan takes many aspects into account in its packaging development. In addition to the key goals, i.e. recyclability and the reduction of plastic and carbon footprint, choices are influenced by many things, such as the shelf life of food, functioning and attractiveness of packaging, recyclability of material, and packaging and recycling costs.
Already 1.5 million kilos less plastic
As one of the largest food companies in the Baltic Sea region, HKScan’s actions have an impact. In line with its strategy, HKScan develops responsibility throughout its value chain. The company has already reduced the amount of packaging plastic by about 1.5 million kilos from 2017 to 2019.
Responsibility is taken into account in all packaging renewals. In September 2020, HKScan launched its HK minced meat products in Finland in new bag packs that contain 71 percent less plastic than conventional box packages. Thanks to them, the amount of packaging plastic is reduced by about 100,000 kilos per year. Earlier this year, the amount of plastic in most of HK Mettwurst boxes was reduced by 20 percent. In 2019, the company reduced a total of 54 percent of plastic with the packaging of Kariniemen separately packed breast fillets compared to conventional box packaging.
In Sweden, the Scan brand’s minced meat package was changed into a thin tube package this year. The new packaging reduced the amount of plastic and improved the shelf-life of the product. In 2018, Mamma Scans meatballs got a completely new recyclable bag packaging.
In Denmark, HKScan packs some of its Rose broiler products into boxes made from recycled plastic. In the Baltics, the amount of plastic in several Rakvere and Tallegg product packages has been successfully reduced.
In 2019, the company abandoned the use of non-recyclable black plastics in the packaging of its branded products in Finland and Sweden.