While the word polypropylene (PP) may not still not exactly roll off the tongue the moment someone mentions packaging sustainability, the recent development of ultra transparent PP by the RPC Group’s Dutch subsidiary RPC Bebo Nederland may soon change a lot of people’s minds about the various benefits that this versatile polymer brings to the table in terms of packaging aesthetics, convenience and sustainability.
According to RPC, the new material has been developed specifically to enhance the packaging of chilled convenience foods and microwavable, ready-made meals with high clarity and natural gloss to help such food brands stand out on crowded retail shelves or chill cabinets, while still providing all of its traditional functional benefits.
“Polypropylene is robust, watertight, microwaveable and extremely flexible in design,” explains Willem-Jan Van De Giessen, team leader for convenience food packaging at RPC Bebo Nederland. “In addition, research
suggests that amongst the many plastic polymers available, PP has a favorable environmental profile.
“As well as being fully recyclable, the relatively low density of material required to create a durable pack means that less energy is consumed and the pack weight is lower—a crucial advantage when considering the carbon footprint incurred during production and the supply chain.”
According to RPC, the prototype packs thermoformed using the transparent PP have already drawn an overwhelmingly favorable response from food companies across Europe, while fresh-fruit supplier Chiquita
has already commenced using PP pots from RPC Bebo Nederland in a joint project with McDonald’s Netherlands to provide a healthy dessert option for kids’ Happy Meals (see picture), or as healthy snack for older customers.