Canadian Packaging

Virgin fiber a necessity in chocolate packaging

By Canadian Packaging staff   

Design & Innovation Food Safety Paperboard Packaging Callebaut Du Caju Printing & Packaging Holmen Iggesund Paperboard Invercote Creato James Cropper The Origin Box

Choosing the correct packaging can leave a foul taste in your mouth according to Iggesund Paperboard.

Swedden—“When we choose the paperboard for chocolate packaging, the decisive factor is taste and odor neutrality. Of course the paperboard must be suitable for the construction we have chosen but if we do not minimize the risk of the chocolate acquiring an off-taste from the packaging material then the rest does not matter.”

Tom Du Caju and his colleagues at Du Caju Printing & Packaging in Belgium are describing their experiences in food packaging. Du Caju is located in Erpe-Mere, just west of Brussels, with almost 50 employees and annual net sales of €10-million (~ CDN $14.2-million), regarding itself as a medium-sized Belgian converter.

Of the packaging Du Caju produces, 85 per cent is food-related and 11 per cent is to package chocolates.

“In addition, just over 10 per cent of what we do is packaging with direct contact between the food and the packaging material,” says key account manager Koen Penne. “We choose our food contact materials, such as paperboard, very carefully to avoid taint, odor and migration problems.”


Du Caju has been working with the world’s largest chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, for more than 25 years. The converter is regularly asked to create sophisticated promotional packaging for Callebaut as a sales tool and brand enhancer.

The latest creation, The Origin Box, is made of three kinds of paper material, of which two, Invercote and Incada, are made by Iggesund Paperboard.

  • It has an outer box made of a brown-colored specialty paper from James Cropper—the Colorscope Bitter Chocolate 350 g/m2 paper.
  • Inside the box are samples of chocolate from many countries. Each sample is packed in a wedge-shaped box made of Incada Silk 300 g/m2 from Iggesund Paperboard.
  • The box also features a wheel giving information about the different types of chocolate. The wheel is printed on Invercote Creato 400 g/m2, also from Iggesund Paperboard,  and is covered with the same material as the outer box.

The brown material has a very matte appearance and a very natural look. The brown color and the uncoated sides give a very good indication of the look of chocolate. The Origin Box was a finalist in the ECMA/Pro Carton European packaging award competition in 2014.

Erwin Heeren, Tom Du Caju and Koen Penne of Du Caju Printing & Packaging proudly display The Origin Box. Image © Iggesund.

Erwin Heeren, Tom Du Caju and Koen Penne of Du Caju Printing & Packaging proudly display The Origin Box. Image © Iggesund.

“We have learned from experience that only virgin fiber is good enough for this type of packaging,” comments Erwin Heeren, an experienced purchaser at Du Caju. “In choosing materials we also get support from our customer, Barry Callebaut, who tests all packaging materials for up to 60 days in its own sensory laboratory.”

As a purchaser he must also keep up to date with both the environmental debate and the discussion about how mineral oils in recycled-fiber-based materials can contaminate packaged foods.

“We are following the mineral oil debate with great interest, as are our most knowledgeable customers,” Heeren says. “However, we are not seeing any increased demand for traceability certificates for paperboard materials—neither FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) nor PEFC Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). That demand is constant at between three and five per cent of our total volume.”

Founded as an iron mill in 1685, Iggesund has been making paperboard for more than 50 years, with its two mills in northern Sweden and northern England employing 1,500 people.

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million (~ CDN $707.73-million) and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments.

Company information can be found at


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