Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley teams up with Nestlé and Tetra Pak to inspire collaborative innovation in sustainable packaging

Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley, together with Valley partners Nestlé and Tetra Pak, brought together 60 Swiss and European at a nationwide event in Bern yesterday. The joint project was designed to shine a light on some of the most promising approaches in sustainable packaging materials and drive further innovation through new collaborations. The Valley will now publish a report in the next few weeks summarising the key learnings.

Driving circularity

Today, the global economy consumes 70% more materials than the planet can replenish – and as little as 8.6% of materials used are repurposed. Although packaging is essential to keep food safe, extend shelf-life and facilitate storage and distribution, solutions also need to be implemented in a way that minimises their climate impact and drives circularity.

Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley has identified sustainable packaging as one of their five Impact Platform topics – areas where Switzerland has the expertise and technology to develop scalable solutions. Earlier this year, Valley partners Nestlé and Tetra Pak, agreed to co-host an event that would bring together experts and innovators across the Swiss ecosystem to explore the most promising approaches and identify possible collaborations to accelerate progress in this space.

Exploring the most promising innovations

The resulting event, “Imagining the Packaging of the Future: Sustainable Solutions Unwrapped 1.0”, was held at BernExpo on the 11th June. 60 Swiss and European colleagues from multinational companies, SMEs, academia and Switzerland’s thriving startup scene, took part in the full-day programme.

Participants heard insights from leading experts in the field, including ETH Zurich, EPFL and Zurich University of Applied Sciences, and contributions took a closer look at alternatives to wood fibres and high-performing bio-based polymers as particularly promising solutions. Six Swiss and European startups also pitched their innovations, including Valley partners B’ZEOS and Agrosustain.

Commenting on the event, Christina Senn-Jakobsen, CEO of Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley, said, “When we talk about packaging, we often focus on what’s not working. But well designed and well implemented packaging solutions have a crucial role to play in shaping more sustainable food systems – from reducing food loss and waste to ensuring that 10 billion people have access to safe and nutritious food. I left today’s event feeling energised and confident that our ecosystem is ready to team up to drive forward the most promising approaches.”

Gustavo Barros, Director of R&D Partnerships at Tetra Pak, added, “Collaboration with our customers, suppliers and industry stakeholders has been central to our sustainability journey. Our dedication to sustainability constantly drives us to explore new materials and technologies. Today, we’ve connected with several colleagues whose research and innovations can help us take another step forward. We look forward to continuing these conversations.”

Rob Hoitink, who is leading Nestlé’s development of paper-based packaging at a global level, added, “Innovation is key to delivering our ambition of getting to 100% recyclable or reusable packaging. Today’s event highlights the vital importance of R&D collaboration across the ecosystem to accelerate the development and implementation of new solutions.”

Sharing the learnings

The Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley team will publish a report summarising the key insights and learnings from the event in the coming weeks. Sign up to receive a copy as soon as it’s available or join us for our next free online Impact Forum event on the topic of Sustainable Packaging on 21 October 2024.

About Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley

Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley (SFNV) is a not-for-profit association founded in 2020 that strengthens and promotes food system innovation, both within Switzerland and across the globe. Our diverse network of Valley partners – from global companies, universities, innovation accelerators to government bodies, SMEs and startups – collaborate to address the most pressing challenges in food, agriculture and nutrition, and co-create innovative solutions that drive better planetary and human health.

About Nestlé

At Nestlé, we believe in the power of food to enhance the quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come. Our company, headquartered in Vevey (VD), has around 270,000 employees, more than 2,000 brands, and a presence in 188 countries, investing CHF 1.7 billion every year in R&D as an engine for growth

As a founding partner of the Swiss Food and Nutrition Valley, Nestlé’s Research & Development organisation is the largest in the food and beverage industry, with 4,100 employees working at 23 locations worldwide, including 3 R&D campuses in Switzerland: Lausanne, Orbe, and Konolfingen.

About Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak is a world leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working with our customers and suppliers, we provide access to safe, nutritious food for hundreds of millions of people in more than 160 countries every day.

With over 24,000 employees worldwide, we commit to making food safe and available, everywhere, and we promise to protect what’s good: food, people and the planet.

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