Elopak's is constructing a new carton production plant in Arkansas, US. Credit: Elopak.
The facility will produce Pure-Pak® fibre-based cartons for liquid dairy, plant-based products, juices, and liquid eggs. Credit: Elopak.
The new facility is expected to start producing cartons from 2025. Credit: Elopak.

Elopak, a food-grade packaging and filling equipment company based in Oslo, Norway, is constructing a cutting-edge carton manufacturing facility in Arkansas, US.

The company announced its decision to invest in the construction of a new packaging plant in June 2023. The development is a joint venture involving Elopak, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and the Little Rock Regional Chamber.

Production at the new facility is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2025. The site is expected to create more than 100 permanent positions for professionals, including engineers, printers, operators, logistics experts, and various other support groups.

It will focus on the production of Pure-Pak® fibre-based cartons, catering to the packaging needs of liquid dairy products, plant-based alternatives, juices, and liquid eggs.

Location of Elopak’s carton production site

Elopak’s forthcoming carton production facility will be the company’s inaugural converting plant on American soil. Spanning 300,000ft², the plant will be situated in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The choice of Little Rock as the location was influenced by the ready availability of green energy and proximity to suppliers. Additionally, the area boasts an excellent transport infrastructure, including road and rail networks.

Arkansas offers a robust workforce, competitive business costs, and an industry-focused climate, all of which are advantageous to the company.

Elopak product portfolio

The facility will manufacture Pure-Pak cartons using materials that are renewable, recyclable, and sustainably sourced.

The cartons present an eco-friendly and convenient substitute for plastic bottles, aligning with the principles of a low-carbon circular economy. Elopak’s beverage cartons consist of up to 90% paperboard, complemented by material, with polyethylene (PE) coated inner barriers to ensure optimal product protection.

Pure-Pak cartons are designed to keep products fresh, thereby enhancing brand value and product efficiency.

The range includes both chilled and aseptic carton packaging solutions. The chilled packaging features the iconic Pure-Pak Classic carton, the Naturally Pure-Pak, Pure-Pak Sense, and Pure-Pak Imagine. Aseptic packaging options include Pure-Pak eSense and Pure-Pak Sense Aseptic. The natural brown boards are also available with a Linea corner panel design for added brand distinction.

Elopak also offers D-PAK™ cartons, catering to the packaging needs of the home care and personal care sectors. The company is the sole fully validated provider of fibre-based packaging in the same markets.

Furthermore, Elopak supplies Roll Fed packaging solutions, which are suitable for a variety of products, including dairy, plant-based alternatives, juice, and alcohol. They are also capable of providing up to 12 months of shelf life, depending on the product.

The company utilises renewable electricity in the production of cartons, which are transported in a flattened state for distribution efficiency. The cartons can be repurposed into new products such as cardboard boxes, furniture, and roof tiles as needed.

Financing details of Elopak’s new production facility

Elopak’s new carton production plant secured a $70m investment from the company for the procurement of land, construction, and equipment.

An initial $50m investment was announced in June 2023, financed through Elopak’s existing Revolving Credit Facility. After a thorough review of its finances and balance sheet, the company resolved to fully invest in and own the plant, subsequently increasing the investment amount by $20m to expand the project’s scope and potential for growth.

Marketing commentary

Founded in 1957, Elopak operates in more than 70 countries with 40 sites worldwide. The company employs approximately 2,600 individuals and produces more than 15 billion beverage cartons a year from 11 manufacturing units.

As a participating member of the UN Global Compact, Elopak is committed to promoting sustainability and reducing emissions, aligning with the 1.5° trajectory. The company is determined to achieve net zero by 2050.

Elopak markets its products as eco-friendly alternatives to plastic containers. Its manufacturing presence in the Americas includes plants in Canada, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as a technical facility in Wixom, Michigan.