Sustainable Packaging for Increased Environmental Awareness

Sustainability, alongside high quality standards, is one of the core values ​​of Stella Bernrain. As a responsible company, we strive to reduce the ecological footprint of our products and, consequently, their packaging, through modern technology. For this reason, we have decided to invest in a new packaging system that revolutionizes chocolate packaging.

New Packaging Machine for More Speed and Less Material

Packaging chocolate has always involved a lot of manual labor. Typically, about 8 - 10 employees have been involved in the packaging process. Investing in a horizontal form-fill-seal machine including cartoner enables us to pack efficiently, environmentally friendly, and largely automated.

The existing packaging machines, which have significantly lower performance, package the bars in a two-stage process: first, the bars are wrapped and sealed in primary packaging (OPP, aluminum, or compostable foil), followed by a carton or paper wrapper as secondary packaging. Most chocolates available on the market are packaged like this.

The new flow wrapping machine forms a horizontal tube from a single roll of film. The film is cold-sealed using a special technique, which is more energy-efficient compared to other sealing methods. What's special about it is that the chocolate is now packaged in a single stage, with just one instead of two layers of packaging. This not only enables a more efficient packaging process but also reduces the material requirement, thus conserving valuable resources. The new flow wrapping machine packages our chocolate at speeds of up to 600 bars per minute. Thanks to the modern setup, the machine can quickly adjust to our various bar formats, reducing changeover times.

Directly connected to the form-fill-seal machine is the new cartoner. Here, the individual bars are gripped by robotic arms and placed into automatically erected displays. Afterwards, the displays are palletized, and the goods are ready for shipping to our customers.

Flow-wrapping machine for sustainable packaging
Flow-wrapping machine for sustainable packaging

Paper and Chocolate - Can they go together?

In addition to the new packaging machine, we also offer sustainable packaging material. The basis of this innovative packaging is paper made from virgin fiber pulp, sourced from FSC-certified wood. This material is not only environmentally friendly but also highly durable, providing an optimal barrier against external influences such as oxygen and fats. With the help of a unique paper-forming mechanism that shapes the paper into the right form without creases, the paper can be easily processed on the form-fill-seal machine. The novel packaging is suitable for various printing methods such as gravure, flexo, or digital printing. Additionally, the barrier paper can be fully recycled in the paper cycle, enabling consumers to enjoy our products in an environmentally friendly way. The packaging material is not only suitable for various bar formats but also for our branches and enrobed bars.

By the way, the paper packaging will be used for our new snack size bar format (30-33g), which will be available from autumn 2024.

Author Blog: Sustainable packaging

Jenny Ackermans
Deputy Head of Development