Converting flexible foil of bag-In-box packaging into valuable resources
Dedicated to bringing health through food to as many people as possible, Danone is a leading global food & beverage company built on three businesses: Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products, Waters, Specialized Nutrition.
Specialized Nutrition comprises Early Life Nutrition (ELN) and Advanced Medical Nutrition (AMN). These two businesses represent a portfolio of science-based nutritional solutions designed to positively impact health through food for people who need it most, and at the most critical times of their lives, from preterm infants to old age.
Early Life Nutrition (ELN) is a thriving business at Danone. The driving force behind this success is our portfolio of science-based products that, alongside parent education, including breastfeeding support, provide optimal nutritional solutions for infants and young children. Advanced Medical Nutrition (AMN) focuses on providing innovative solutions in paediatric nutrition (including food allergies and faltering growth) as well as adult nutrition (addressing age-related frailty and malnutrition due to disease).
Among its many businesses, Danone commercialises infant milk formula under different brands and price tiers, to provide nutritional solutions for infant and young children (up to 6 years old). Milk powder is a popular way to provide much-needed nutrition to infants and toddlers, and are crucial especially in the early stages of a child’s life. Baby milk powder is what we like to focus on for our packaging problem statements under the sustainability challenge and for our Eastern markets (India, Indonesia, South East Asia).
The challenge faced is coming from the linear model the packaging for baby milk powder is into nowadays. Solving the problem (i.e. identifying how to transform this ‘wasted’ packaging material into a new valuable component of a business model) certainly creates a huge opportunity to positively impact the planet, society and economy. This step-change will come from our ability to transform up to 4,000 tons of packaging waste (total across the 3 geographies) into value creation solutions, embedded into local system and scalable.
Moreover, the cost of packaging makes up 7 to 11% of the total cost of a product for most FMCG companies. Any opportunities to reduce packaging cost while contributing to sustainability will be a win-win situation for these companies.
- Volume and collection for the waste packaging
- The technology providers should suggest a feasible and economical plan to facilitate collection of the waste packaging from home consumers
- Type of material:
- The flexible material (‘pouch’) contains the milk powder and protects the product from humidity, oxygen, light and any contamination during the whole shelf life (18 months average)
- The pouch can be sold in a box and unprinted (picture number 1) or as a standalone and printed (picture number 2), please see click on the link; Images or attachment under the document section.
- There are 2 technical specifications of the packaging material of this pouch:
- (a) multi-layer and mono-material = metalized OPP/PE
- (b) multi-layer and multi-material = PET/PE with either aluminium or metalized layer
- For both specs, the range of technical properties is currently between that of aluminium and a metalized film for both (a) and (b)
- The proposal needs to work for both specifications; or it can be 2 solutions, one per specification
- End use characteristics:
- We are open as to any end use characteristics, as to the high value applications. It can be even an application related to other industries or category (not related to infant milk category)
- If re-use, the packaging material needs to meet the same quality and food safety grade as initially, i.e. fit for infant consumption (w.r.t. microbiology, contaminants and foreign matters)
- The final product should have potential value that can be monetized (as it will be the starting point of the circular economy)
- The process of transformation to the final product should not have any negative impact on the planet (GHG emission, water, waste)
- Commercial readiness:
- Technology Readiness Level of 3 and above, i.e. at least some basic concept and principles developed. More mature, closer to commercial application technologies or approaches preferred
- The innovators have the knowledge and capability to deeply research and perform initial testing of new materials
- Danone will be keen to test-bed the solution and subsequently implement the solution in the markets that it serves. Technology owners should be open to working closely with the company to test the solution and further develop the technology to meet the said requirements.
- Our main aim is to achieve zero waste. We are seeking to collaborate with innovators to jointly develop solutions that can convert Danone’s packaging materials into another valuable resource.
- The focus is on the flexible packaging material, i.e. the ‘pouch’. The pouch initially contains the baby milk powder and is ‘wasted’ after it is emptied by the consumer. Different strategies can be considered (re-cycling, re-purposing, re-using of the packaging material) to transform this ‘waste’ at consumer end into a valuable resource that can be kept in the economy. Various applications for this new and valuable resource can be considered, given it creates a new type of value and hence achieving a circular economy.
- We aim to select and develop a POC in Q1 2021.
- Tested in small scale between Q2-Q3 2021 before making decision for scale-up conditions in Q4 2021.
- For blue-sky ideas, we are open to explore over a longer time horizon for development, beyond 2021.
- For blue-sky ideas, we are open to exploring over a longer time horizon for development, beyond 2021.
Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge - Enterprise
Proposal submissions are open from 24 Nov 2020 to 5 Mar 2021