Finnish fibre-based materials firm Ahlstrom-Munksjö is set to develop a flexible packaging solution in partnership with five companies.

The partnership aims to develop a renewable, biodegradable and recyclable, flexible paper‐based packaging material using sustainable items in a bid to reduce the volume of plastic films.

Materials currently used to produce flexible packaging are plastic film and/or aluminium foil.

Flexible packaging is used in food wrapping, pet food and non-food packaging, as well as a number of other end-use applications.

The five partners, which include two industrial partners and three research centres, are part of the European project Sherpack announced on 14 June last year. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is also an industrial partner in the project.

The two industrial partners include Cargill and Borregaard, while the research partners are CTP, ITENE, and ISOF-CNR.

Sherpack project was selected as part of the EU-funded call for projects on ‘Advanced biomaterials for smart food packaging’.

“These cellulosic materials will enhance food conservation, guarantee customer safety, and improve mechanical properties and converting.”

Solutions developed under the Sherpack project will offer new functionalities such as wet lamination of a thin layer of fibre, formulation and coating of a biodegradable polymer waterborne emulsion, and specific design, formulation and printing of a polysaccharides grid to improve the grip and stiffness.

These cellulosic materials will enhance food conservation, guarantee customer safety, and improve mechanical properties and converting.

In September, Ahlstrom-Munksjö announced plans to invest €21m to support coated specialities capabilities at its Jacarei plant in Brazil.

The investment is set to be completed in the third quarter of next year and will enable the company to better serve customers in South America with enhanced offerings.