Mars Tests New Paper Candy Bar Wrappers in UK
Mars, Inc. is testing out new, paper wrappers for its candy bars in a trial run at Tesco grocery stores in the UK. The paper wrappers are temporarily replacing plastic wrappers, which are not recyclable. The company plans to use feedback from the trial as it works toward developing alternative packaging options for its candy bars and other products.
For a limited time, consumers can find paper-wrapped Mars candy bars at 500 Tesco store locations around the UK as part of its Sustainable in a Generation Plan. According to Mars, though, it has been difficult to find paper-based wrapping for chocolate.
“For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality and integrity of the product to prevent food waste,” said Richard Sutherland-Moore, packaging expert at Mars Wrigley UK, as reported by The Guardian.
According to Ocean Conservancy, 2019 data showed that food wrappers from candy, chips and other snacks was the top item type collected from oceans, dethroning cigarette butts for the first time in decades.
The new packaging is designed for easy, curbside recycling, so consumers will not have to send wrappers to specialized facilities to recycle them. Current wrappers are usually made from plastic or multiple types of materials that make them too difficult to recycle.
“When the target is recyclability, paper is 70-90% recycled — flexible plastics don’t stand a chance. Mars switching to paper is still another nail in the coffin for flexibles,” Paul Foulkes-Arellano, founder of Circuthon, told PackagingInsights.
Mars is already working to transition to paper-based wrappers in Australia, where it started swapping the packaging in April this year for Mars, Milky Way and Snickers candy bars. By making the switch, the company said it expected to reduce plastics in its value chain by 360 metric tons. The company will begin rolling out these paper-wrapped candy bars in New Zealand starting June 2023. On its website, Mars noted the paper wrappers are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified.
Mars isn’t the first candy company to look for more sustainable alternatives for its product packaging. Nestlé recently swapped foil- and plastic-based wrappers for most of its Quality Street candies to paper wrappers that are recyclable and switched to paper for Smarties’ wrappers in 2021. The company is also testing recyclable wrappers for KitKat bars in Australia.