UK – Flexible packaging specialist Parkside has collaborated with Iceland to create new paper-based packs for frozen seafood.

The retailer’s Northcoast range of frozen seafood will incorporate flexible paper packaging and is said to be one of the first successful applications for the material in frozen food.

Iceland’s Northcoast products were previously packed in an LDPE and are now in a recyclable paper pouch.

According to Parkside, the heat-sealable paper solution was designed to withstand the rigors of frost and moisture in a freezer environment, for prolonged periods of time.

It incorporates a range of water-based coatings with high barrier performance, which are designed to break down when re-pulped in the paper recycling process.

Mark Armstrong, Packaging Specialist at Iceland said: “As everyone knows, we are loud and proud about our forward-thinking ideas and commitment to plastic-free packaging across our products.

“As consumer sentiment continues to grow for circular solutions, it is the perfect time to collaborate once again in a bid to reduce unnecessary plastic in our packaging.”

Armstrong explains that bag sealing was a challenge, as was ensuring the material had the necessary barrier properties.

The company also wanted the print to match the existing LDPE bag and therefore a lot of time was spent on artwork and repro to give the best possible result.

Commenting on the collaboration, Parkside Sales Account Manager Mark Shaw said: “It has been a huge privilege for us to work on this project with Mark and his team.

“Until recently, achieving a high level of grease and oil resistance and heat seal ability for frozen food has been extremely challenging.”

He continued: “Typically, a plastic layer such as Polyethylene would need to be extruded or laminated to the paper, which would then need to be removed when recycling post-consumer use.

“Our leading technology removes the need for the plastic and gives a truly recyclable paper solution with the added benefit of high barrier functionality.”

This move follows Iceland’s move to replace some of its frozen food packaging with Mondi’s functional barrier paper, which is reportedly recyclable in existing waste streams.

The barrier paper, as reported by Mondi offers complete product protection and ensures the same shelf life as previous plastic packaging.

The retailer is aiming to be the first UK supermarket to become ‘plastic neutral’ through its partnership with Seven Clean Seas, which will involve offsetting its plastic footprint by recovering and recycling nature-bound plastic in an equivalent weight to the retailer’s plastic usage.
The retailer has also committed to eliminating plastic packaging from its own brand products by 2023, with the offsetting initiative focused on ‘unavoidable’ plastic use.

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