With consumer concerns over single-use plastics hitting the headlines, the demand for the Sherwood Group’s water-based coating – Puracoat™ – has never been higher

First developed in 2010, Puracoat™ is an innovation whose time has come. As the public clamours for more recyclable food packaging, retailers and food manufacturers are actively seeking sustainable alternatives to conventional plastics.

Relaunched at Packaging Innovations in February, with a tested accreditation from third- party industry specialists Smithers Pira (https://www.smitherspira.com), Puracoat™ is an evolutionary product in food barrier packaging.

An environmentally friendly alternative
A water-based coating, Puracoat™ can be applied to any food-grade cartonboard to give it the grease and moisture resistance properties of a PE plastic-lined board.

“The beauty of a water-based coating is that it’s not classed as a contaminant and doesn’t impact the recycling or composting stream,” explains Packaging Design and Innovation Manager, Kim Durose.

“With PE lined boards you have to go through a mechanical reclamation process to recycle the paper fibres and you’re still left with a plastic sheet to dispose of, usually through landfill or incineration. The water-based coating can be recycled or composted as part of the cartonboard.”

Perfect for food-on-the-go
Although Puracoat™ is applicable to a range of markets, the company is seeing particular success in the chilled and ambient food-on-the-go sector. Recent case studies include a recyclable sandwich pack for Dobbies Sandwiches, recyclable packaging for Booths Tortilla Wrap Pack and an innovative cartonboard solution for Tesco Croquembouche kit.

“There are a lot of single-use plastics involved in the food-on-the-go market,” says the Sherwood Group’s CEO, Jeremy Bacon. “The recyclability of the packaging is a real issue, as is littering.”

By combining it with other materials, Puracoat™ can also be suitable for frozen, microwavable and ovenable products.

“We know that Puracoat™ will perform,” says UK Packaging Sales Manager Chris Waplington. “But we always test and trial it, as different foodstuffs have different migration and leaching properties.”

Relaunch – with accreditation
In February, Puracoat™ was relaunched at Packaging Innovations with main distinction: third-party accreditation.

Independent verification from Smithers Pira – on various substrates with two levels of coating – showed the product to be grease resistant to the highest Kit 12 rating, as well as fully recyclable and biodegradable in line with BS EN 13432.

“Even though we know from our in-house testing that we can stand behind the product, we wanted a third-party accreditor to put their stamp on it,” says Kim Durose.

Jeremy Bacon agrees: “We had an absolutely fantastic reception at Packaging Innovations. That was very much the difference maker, that it was independently accredited. Not only from our typical customer base of food manufacturers but specifically from retailers, because there is a huge demand from the general public about the elimination of single-use plastics in the supply chain and the timing was right. It was almost as if the product was too good to be true, but having the accreditation meant that the conversations we had with retailers were specific, and we have a number of products that we are bringing to market in the near future for household-name retailers.”

Innovation and awards
To support the relaunch, the Sherwood Group has created some bespoke campaigns targeting retailers, including a video exploring the issues around plastics and presenting Puracoat™ as the solution.

“We encourage people to visit our website and have a look at our case studies, which focus on on-the-go food and confectionery,” says Marketing Manager Anna Fawcett. “There’s a lot of innovation taking place at our Smartcentre and we are very agile. We can develop high-quality samples, digitally printed on any stock material, co-operating with our Far East manufacturing site.”

The company has won several packaging and printing awards, including the ‘Cartonboard Pack of the Year 2016’ for a diamond-shaped Christmas tree bauble containing confectionary, designed for Harrods.

“It was a design challenge, as the weight of the product sits at the bottom but they wanted a pack with a closure in the centre,” explains Kim Durose. “A comment we got from the judges was that it was a brilliant construction and graphics; it did really look the part when it was done.”

Investing in the future
A strategic alliance has been formed with KMD Company, specialists in luxury packaging and point of sale, and the company has now moved on to the Sherwood Group site. As a result, there has been additional investment to ensure that the Smartcentre meets the needs of luxury clients.

A board-mounting machine has been installed to allow laminating on to corrugated and rigid board as well as cartonboard, and there are plans for investment in a new packaging press, and for increasing the dye-cutting and blanking facility.

With investment, innovation and a revolutionary product in Puracoat™, the Sherwood Group is a force to be reckoned with in food packaging and printing today.

Tel: 0115 928 7766

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