Danone first to switch to PLA for yogurt cup in Germany
Moving from polystyrene to PLA, Danone will improve the packaging carbon footprint for its Activia brand by 25% and will use 43% less fossil resources.
Danone has switched to Ingeo™ PLA from NatureWorks for its Activia brand yogurt in Germany. The new yogurt pack is the result of a close cooperation between Danone, WWF-Germany, and NatureWorks. The switch to the material will improve the product’s packaging carbon footprint by 25% and will use 43% less fossil resources compared to the previous packaging, according to a life-cycle assessment (LCA) study conducted by the Heidelberg-based LCA Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU). Danone is the first company to switch to PLA packaging for a leading yogurt product in Europe. In October, Stonyfield Farm became the first in the U.S. to introduce a form/fill/seal cup made from PLA for yogurt.
“Going forward, it is increasingly important for companies and brands to realize that the path ahead is one of technological investment, sustainable development, and high quality in all aspects of product production—packaging included,” says Andreas Ostermayr, CEO Danone Germany and Switzerland. “With our partners, we have taken a first significant step in the packaging development of the future.”
In terms of the aggregate annual environmental benefit associated with the Activia pack switch, NatureWorks estimates fossil energy savings equivalent to the electricity consumed per month by 13,000 German homes, along with greenhouse gas savings equivalent to not driving a vehicle 19 million km.
With the choice of Ingeo, NatureWorks says that Danone addressed three product elements in its development of the Activia yogurt pack. First, Activia, which is a product designed to improve digestive comfort, was previously packaged in polystyrene. The new packaging needed to combine high performance and quality with the sustainable standards of today and tomorrow, and the entire process needed to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable, with no compromise on quality or performance for the end consumer. Additionally, NatureWorks is working with the industry to realize a wholly new end-of-life option for the Ingeo-based cup to guarantee the lowest environmental impact from sourcing use, disposal, recovery, and re-use.
Together, NatureWorks, Danone, and WWF are working to achieve the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) for the new Activia packaging. The ISCC seal assures that the entire supply chain for the Ingeo raw materials meets rigorous social and environmental criteria.
Danone notes that the change represents about 80% of the total volume of all Activia products in Germany, and that moving forward, it plans to expand the use of the Ingeo-based packaging to include the other products in the Activia line (drinks, yogurt fruit puree, and the larger consumer formats) that account for the remaining 20 percent.