Innovation Zone

ThePackHub Innovation Zone Snapshot

by Paul Jenkins, Managing Director of ThePackHub.
I am delighted to bring you my personal Innovation Zone snapshot update, a peek at the emerging trends from ThePackHub’s 6,800-strong global packaging innovation platform.
I might be a bit biased (!) but The Innovation Zone database platform is THE go-to destination to keep up to speed with all the latest global packaging initiatives.


Don’t keep the latest in packaging innovation to yourself! Share the knowledge with your colleagues and friends by forwarding this newsletter to them.  Click here to subscribe.

Trend Tracking: switching to paper-based packs is showing no signs of slowing.


This week, I’m taking a deep dive into paper-based packaging.

The number of paper-based packaging examples posted to our Innovation Zone platform is on the up. In fact, we’re tracking more examples than ever and have already posted 18 since the start of 2023. The Nestle switch to paper-based KitKat packs in Australia is probably the most head-turning of them this year.

A study by Two Sides states that 55% of UK consumers prefer paper packaging as being better for the environment, 51% for being easier to recycle and 77% for being home compostable.

Brands and retailers are increasingly switching to paper-based packaging due to consistent demand from consumers for non-plastic packaging alternatives.  The move can often help meet recyclability objectives and assist to reduce plastic waste. Paper-based packaging is, as well as being recyclable, also biodegradable and compostable. Technological advances have made paper-based packaging more versatile, formable and durable, and it can be printed with high-quality graphics, enhancing the product’s branding and consumer appeal.

Not every change is seen positively, with comments about greenwashing and appeasing consumers being made for some initiatives, particularly when they are not supported by LCAs or carbon footprint reduction claims.

Many of the developments we’re tracking are in market launches and this change is predicted by us to continue for some time yet.


Here are five new paper-based initiatives we think you should know about recently posted to the Innovation Zone.

1 – Enova Pack by Evopak is a flexible packaging material made from adaptive polymers and paper that is recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, and safe for marine and wildlife. It has high barrier properties and puncture resistance, while remaining flexible and water-resistant. The material runs on form fill & seal machines and has been successfully used to package vegan lentil chips.

2 – nucao, a vegan chocolate maker in Germany, has switched to primary packaging made from NexPlus Advanced paper by Koehler Paper, citing its excellent barrier properties and printability. The packaging is 100% recyclable, reduces CO2 footprint, and aligns with consumers’ preference for eco-friendly options.

3 – Toppan, a Japanese provider of advanced printing and communication technology, has developed an NFC tag label that uses paper as the substrate for the antenna instead of PET film. The new label is designed to break if removed, preventing fraudulent use, and is 30% thinner than previous products. With increasing demand for sustainable materials, the use of paper in place of plastic aligns with current environmental initiatives.

4 – Mitsubishi HiTec Paper, a German paper manufacturer, has introduced a new product called PACK, aimed at sustainable packaging of toys and small items. The FSC and PEFC certified paper, made from virgin fibres and available in 75gsm weight, offers excellent heat-sealability, making it ideal for pouch packaging. It has been tested successfully on leading packaging machines and is a sustainable alternative to plastic film composites.

5 – Chocal Packaging Solutions provides an alternative to conventional plastic packaging with their Chocal Paper Fibre technology. This formable and printable packaging is produced using coated paper-based materials, making it food-safe, highly stable, and eco-friendly. The biopolymer coating provides water, odour, and fat barrier properties, and the trays can be customized to various depths and printed with colour and text. All CPF variants are compostable or recyclable.

In summary, the demand for non-plastic packaging alternatives is driving an increase in paper-based packaging, with brands and retailers switching to meet recyclability objectives and reduce plastic waste. Consumers have shown a preference for paper packaging, with many citing its environmental benefits and recyclability. Technological advances have made paper-based packaging more versatile and durable, and it can also be printed with high-quality graphics to enhance branding and consumer appeal. However, not all changes are viewed as the best route to take, with concerns about greenwashing and the need for evidence-based claims to support sustainability initiatives.

This paper-based trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future.

Leading brand owners, retailers, and packaging suppliers trust the Innovation Zone to stay ahead with the latest packaging innovations. Contact me to learn how membership can enhance your company’s understanding.

ThePackHub’s Refillable & Reusable Packaging Compendium Volume 2 is out now. The most comprehensive reuse packaging trend summary available. Find out more and order here.

This week
Plastic Packaging Innovations Webinar

Join us for a FREE one-hour webinar and discover the cutting-edge advancements in plastic packaging innovation. Get a comprehensive overview of the latest initiatives and in-market developments that will inspire and inform you.

Hear from industry expert David Rimmer, Managing Director at Unette, as he shares insights on how his business is driving sustainable solutions and delivering easy-open, lightweighted plastic packaging.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and learn from industry leaders. Sign up now!

Register here.

ThePackHub’s latest webinar was broadcast this week and you can now watch it (again) in full.

Don’t miss out on the latest e-commerce packaging trends! Watch ThePackHub’s recent webinar now for a comprehensive look at innovation in the industry. Discover inspiring in-market and developmental examples, and hear from Ian Beresford of Essentra Tapes on the crucial role packaging plays in creating a positive first impression and shaping consumer perceptions of sustainability.

Click here to access this informative one-hour session.

Please visit ThePackHub or call us on +44(0)118 963 9990 to find out more about our range of packaging innovation services.
Until next time. Happy innovating.
ThePackHub Ltd Albany House, 14 Shute End, Wokingham, Berks, RG40 1BJ. Tel: 0118 963 9990 . Email us >