Avantium & Mitsui to launch 100% biobased packaging in Japan to coincide with Tokyo Olympics

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

Avantium & Mitsui to launch 100% biobased packaging in Japan

Related tags: Japan

Avantium has signed an agreement with Mitsui & Co. (Mitsui), to commercialize 100% biobased chemicals FDCA (Furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid) and PEF (polyethylene furanoate) in Asia.

Avantium is currently preparing to build its first FDCA production plant and it has reserved a significant portion of the capacity from this facility for Mitsui.

Reclosable PEF bottles

The company plans to share further details on the capacity, location and time lines for the construction in Q1 2016.

Nathan Kemeling, business development director, Avantium, told BeverageDaily, the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 is an excellent platform to introduce 100% biobased packaging to the Japanese market.

The Japanese packaging market is highly innovative with many different packaging formats to cater to the customers’ high quality requirements. For example, in Japan a large range in beer can sizes is being sold from 50cl to 2L. It is possible to produce all these sizes in reclosable PEF bottles,​” he said.

For films, we are targeting the replacement of multilayer packaging by monolayer PEF package for oxygen sensitive foods like dried fish or meat. But we are also developing lightweight stand-up pouches to replace glass jars, for products like miso paste​.

Bottle applications can be PEF beer bottles for sport events, but also carbonated alcohol drinks (alcohol pops) for concerts. Further PEF could be very attractive for ready-to-drink (RTD) teas or coffees, due to its excellent oxygen barrier​.

RTD teas and coffees are often sold heated in vending machines, due to its excellent barrier properties and higher thermal stability, this is feasible for PEF without additional barrier layers​.”

For Mitsui, the collaboration with Avantium is an extension of its bio-based chemicals portfolio.

Significant benefits for oxygen sensitive goods

The joint agreement is for PEF thin films in Asia and PEF bottles in Japan. Given its barrier performance, Avantium research demonstrates PEF can bring significant benefits as packaging material for oxygen sensitive goods such as food, beer and health care products.

The parties are also partnering to launch and grow the market for other FDCA- based applications such as co-polyesters.

PEF bottle
A PEF bottle

Tom van Aken, CEO, Avantium, said the collaboration expands its PEF developments beyond bottles, as supported by The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA, into the new application of thin PEF films.

It is our ambition to support Mitsui and their Japanese partners and customers to launch PEF and other FDCA-based applications to the market in time for the Tokyo Olympics​," he added.

According to Kemeling, the Japan Bioplastics Association is promoting the use of bioplastics for the Tokyo Olympics because cans are not allowed at sports events for safety reasons.

He said beer is often served in cups, but spillage is a common problem.

With closable 100% biobased PEF bottles, sport fans can enjoy their beers in the stadium without the safety issues of cans or glass. Combining the biobased aspects and the product performance benefits, the Tokyo Olympics is an excellent platform to introduce 100% biobased packaging to the Japanese market,​” he said.

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