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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
Billerudkorsnäs, Evian, PepsiCo Aim to Redesign How We Hydrate

From shrinking jugs to paper bottles to eschewing bottles completely, here are some of the latest ways beverage and packaging giants are innovating to eliminate plastic pollution.

PepsiCo goes ‘Beyond the Bottle’ with mobile-enabled hydration platform

Built to reflect how people drink water today, PepsiCo’s new hydration platform is a connected ecosystem that responds to the rise in consumer preference for water and low- and no-sugar drinks, as well as heightened focus on plastic’s effect on the environment. Part of the beverage giant’s Beyond the Bottle efforts, the new system makes it easier for people to stay hydrated with low- to no-sugar beverages, digitally track their water intake, and help meet the growing consumer demand for more sustainable packaging.

Following PepsiCo’s recent acquisition of SodaStream, the platform is the next step along the company’s Beyond the Bottle journey, which is pursuing ways to deliver beverages without single-use plastic bottles. As the Beyond the Bottle strategy evolves, consumers can expect to see more PepsiCo beverage options delivered without single-use plastic bottles.

The hydration platform is made up of three components: a water dispenser, with a variety of fruit flavor options; a companion smartphone app; and a personalized QR code sticker for reusable bottles that allows consumers to be recognized by the dispenser. Reflecting how people are increasingly utilizing technology and apps to track and personalize every element of their day, the new ecosystem also automatically tracks users’ water intake and allows users to set their own daily hydration goals. Additionally, it tracks their environmental impact with a unique count of plastic bottles saved with each pour and over time, and saves unique preferences (such as favorite flavors and carbonation levels) for future use.

“This new platform for hydration is an exciting step in the PepsiCo Beyond the Bottle innovation pipeline,” said Scott Finlow, Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo Foodservice. “We’ve addressed a number of trends we’re seeing resonate with consumers, including the increasing concern for the environment; preference for refillable bottles over single-use plastics; and finally, choice and personalization whenever possible. Now, whether they’re at home, work or on-the-go, we’ve given people a way to make healthier and more sustainable choices throughout their day and achieve their personal hydration goals.”

The hydration experience is completely customizable, offering a variety of great tasting, zero-calorie flavor, carbonation and temperature options that can be customized for every pour. Everyone can create their preferred drink and save their favorites in the mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices, for seamless future pours. Additionally, all water is nano-filtered to guarantee clean water every time.

This year, PepsiCo says it will launch the platform at select workplaces, universities and hospitality partners where there is the greatest desire for access to still and carbonated water — and both sustainable and healthier drink options — with additional locations to follow in the near future.

BillerudKorsnäs, ALPLA partner to pioneer paper bottles

Image credit: BillerudKorsnäs

Swedish paper packaging materials innovator BillerudKorsnäs and plastic packaging solutions provider ALPLA have formed a joint venture in the Danish paper bottle company ecoXpac — which specializes in designing, developing and implementing process solutions for molded-fiber bottles. The company follows a strategy striving to introduce fiber-based products in categories dominated by other materials, in order to contribute to a more sustainable future.

With their shared ambition to drive sustainable packaging innovation, ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs say they will leverage the development by combining their resources, competencies and strengths to support scaling ecoXpac in the commercialization of a fully bio-based and recyclable paper bottle.

In June 2013, ecoXpac manufactured the first prototype of the fiber bottle based on recycled paper. Since then, the project has evolved into a collaborative project between some of the world's leading players in technology and barriers, culminating in late 2016, when Carlsberg Group revealed a first physical prototype of its Green Fiber Bottle — the plan now is to continue the development to launch and then scale production. BillerudKorsnäs says following generations will be both fully bio-based and have biodegradable barriers, thereby fully realizing both companies’ vision to enable consumers all over the world to live more sustainably.

"I believe that with our shared and honest ambition to break new ground, ALPLA and BillerudKorsnäs now make an important commitment to contribute to a more sustainable future, says Petra Einarsson, CEO and President BillerudKorsnäs. “The question is not ‘if,’ but rather ‘how soon’ this joint venture will introduce a fully bio-based and recyclable paper bottle to the market. When we do, it will enable a significant shift in consumer behavior globally.”

The formation of the joint venture is subject to customary regulatory approvals such as merger control clearances. It is expected that the transaction is completed in Q3 2019.

When the transaction has been completed, BillerudKorsnäs and ALPLA will own equal parts of ecoXpac, with a minority post held by the founder family. BillerudKorsnäs is currently the majority owner and has been a shareholder in the company since 2015. BillerudKorsnäs has been a driving force in the ongoing development of a paper bottle, which was started by ecoXpac in 2010 and with Carlsberg Group since 2015.

“EcoXpac was founded with a strong vision for the future. Today, we are privileged to have the best players in their fields sharing our vision,” says Martin Grosen Petersen, CEO of ecoXpac. “It makes me proud of what we have achieved so far. The vision has never felt closer to reality than today.”

Connected evian (re)new system delivers at-home water with effortless refills and a lot less plastic

Image credit: evian (re)new

Meanwhile, Danone-owned evian® natural mineral water recently unveiled evian (re)new — an in-home water system that provides consumers with evian water at home with a significant reduction in plastic packaging.

Reinventing the way evian is delivered to consumers, the collapsible 5L 'bubble' surrounding the water incorporates next-generation design thinking, leveraging the physics of materials: The thin 'bubble' of evian water is 100 percent recyclable, and made of a 100 percent recycled plastic (rPET) skin that contracts when the natural mineral water is consumed, taking on a new shape after each use. The company says it uses 66 percent less plastic than a 1.5L evianbottle1.

Patricia Oliva, evian Global Brand VP, said: "At evian, we owe everything to nature and are committed to a healthy planet. This will only be achieved by new ways of thinking and of doing business. And this is why we're challenging ourselves to reinvent new ways to provide evian natural mineral water to consumers. This unique bubble design represents a breakthrough in design thinking which brings the purity of evian natural mineral water from the source to the home in a more circular way."

The introduction of the in-home evian water appliance is the latest move in evian’s journey to become a circular brand by 2025, and will build on the brand's ambition to be carbon neutral by 2020. The system follows the launch of the evian by Virgil Abloh SOMA® bottle earlier this year, a refillable glass bottle that makes a perfect on-the-go accessory to use with evian (re)new.

“I've always been inspired by great design and how it can shape our lives, which is why I'm excited to see evian pushing the boundaries with the design of this disruptive new product that will transform the way we drink evian water at home," says Abloh, evian’s Creative Advisor for Sustainable Innovation Design.

Through the connected appliance, consumers will also be able to reorder evian at the touch of a button on the base of the appliance, which is connected to the evian (re)new app. The app can track the amount of water consumed and notify the user when a refill is needed — creating an effortless e-commerce offering.

evian (re)new will launch as part of an initial pilot in Paris and London in May this year with 200 selected consumers*, who, along with Abloh, will help evian test and learn ahead of wider product launches in the future.

"We are inviting consumers to join a community of early adopters who will be an extension of our innovation team, helping us to co-create this solution,” Oliva added. “Together, we will fine-tune evian(re)new with a view to bringing a scalable and circular solution to market."

1Compared, per litre of water, to a 1.5L evian bottle (3.33 x 1.5L evian bottles)