Dungannon, Northern Ireland-based Greiner Packaging has been supplying Graham’s, The Family Dairy (Graham’s) with packaging for almost 10 years. In 2017, it helped the Stirling, Scotland-based dairy processor launch its award-winning and best-selling Protein 22 cups, packed at the company’s Fife, Scotland, site. In 2020, Greiner Packaging supplied approximately 40% of Graham’s required volume of cups.

At the end of 2020, another supplier said that due to material shortages as a consequence of Brexit, it could not fulfill an order for cups for Graham’s popular skyr line — launched at the start of 2018. The team at Greiner Packaging immediately stepped in to help, and the end result was Graham’s adopting the new and more environmentally friendly K3 cardboard-thermoformed plastic solution for its 450-gram skyr range to replace the existing in-mold label (IML) product.

Thanks to the skill, experience and agility of the Greiner Packaging team, within 48 hours of receiving the call from Graham’s, the artwork department had amended files for what was formerly an IML cup into a direct-print cup for a stop-gap —until the new K3 cup could be produced.

“Working with Greiner Packaging was exciting, as we turned a problem around in just one week through an innovative low-carbon solution,” says Emma Roy, marketing manager at Graham’s. “Replacing our existing IML cups with thermoformed for our skyr product line brought many immediate benefits, reduced waste through recycling and increased factory efficiency by improving speed on the packaging line. Moving to K3 will deliver a 58.4% reduction in plastic — saving an estimated 39 tons of plastic a year. In addition, we now have the continued opportunity to respond to our customers’ interest in sustainability and run promotions with the additional space that the inside of the K3 sleeve provides.”

Developing more sustainable packaging

As part of its businesswide climate adaptation strategy, Graham’s is promoting the sustainability success of its skyr packaging changes on-pack with a label saying: “We’re even greener. Do you like our new packaging? It uses: 51.4% recycled content, 58.4% less plastic and produces 17% less CO2 emissions (than a standard IML cup).”

The Scottish producer has embarked on a progressive and innovative journey with its consumers to transition to net-zero carbon-dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) emissions across all of its products and business areas and includes the adoption of a circular approach to product development.

“We focus our product development on customer feedback, and we want to take every opportunity to involve our consumer audience in our sustainability success story,” says Roy. “We have a very engaged and committed group across the U.K., called ‘Graham’s Taste Testers,’ and we know our customers are interested in every aspect of our products, from flavor to sustainability.

“Our mission is to achieve net-zero CO2e emissions by 2035 across our business thorough strategic investments that drive innovation and create economic opportunities for our colleagues and partners,” she adds. “We have been actively looking at ways to change our packaging to make it more sustainable, and working with Greiner Packaging has enabled us to accelerate this process.”

Not only does Greiner Packaging’s K3 cardboard-plastic combination use considerably less plastic, it is also perfectly recyclable, as the outer cardboard wrap can be easily removed and separated to enable recycling. Graham’s is planning to use the printable reverse of the wrap to share the details of its sustainability journey and offer cross-promotions with end-users.

Greiner Packaging will soon be able to reduce the CO2 emissions of the 450-gram skyr cups still further — by introducing recycled PET material, allowing Graham’s to have 100% recycled content in its skyr packaging.

Rachel Sheldon is business development manager for Greiner Packaging.