Beverage giant Diageo is venturing into the world of paper packaging with a trial of paper-based bottles for its Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur.

This initiative comes amidst growing consumer demand for sustainable products and aims to bridge the gap between those intentions and actual purchasing behaviour.

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The trial utilises a Dry Molded Fiber (DMF) bottle developed by PA Consulting in collaboration with PulPac.

Made from 90% paper with a thin plastic liner and foil seal, the bottle boasts recyclability in standard paper streams, eliminating the need for separate plastic liner disposal.

This initial consumer test will involve 2,000 mini-sized (80ml) Baileys bottles at the Time Out festival in Barcelona, Spain. 

The trial will assess the bottle’s performance throughout the supply chain, from filling in the Republic of Ireland to consumer experience and understanding of the sustainability features.

While paper bottles offer a promising path in the sector, a significant gap exists between reported consumer interest in sustainable options (68%) and actual purchase behaviour (12%).

Diageo aims to bridge this ‘say-do gap’ by creating desirable, sustainable products and educating consumers about their eco-friendly features.

The company said it has established internal frameworks to ensure clear and scientifically sound communication regarding sustainability claims.

These frameworks include environmental claims checklists and life cycle assessment tools.

Diageo’s commitment to paper packaging extends beyond this initial trial.

The company remains involved with the Pulpex consortium and continues internal testing of its Johnnie Walker paper bottle concept.

Additionally, a collaboration with Don Papa rum explores a Diageo-designed, spiral-wound paper bottle also expected to be 90% paper-based.

This design eliminates the need for a separate cardboard gift box, aligning with Diageo’s ongoing efforts to reduce excess packaging.

Diageo Sustainable Solutions is also trialling lightweight glass bottles by utilising a novel coating from EXXERGY.

Furthermore, Diageo previously announced a trial of 30,000 aluminium bottles for Baileys in European airports, aiming for a 44% carbon footprint reduction compared to traditional glass bottles.

These packaging innovations contribute to Diageo’s ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’ sustainability plan, which targets a significant reduction in the company’s environmental impact.

As packaging represents 33% of Diageo’s scope 3 carbon footprint, these new solutions hold promise for a greener future.