Constantia Drukpol, one of the Polish plants of flexible packaging converter Constantia Flexibles, has teamed up with ExxonMobil, a supplier of polyethylene resins, to develop a freezer film for the ready-to-use plant-based food brand Bonduelle.

This collaboration led to the development of a mono-material polyethylene (PE) solution designed to replace traditional multi-material metalized films, which can make the packaging easier to recycle and better suited for a variety of vegetables. The new film can address the packaging needs for both "easy to pack" vegetables such as peas and green beans and "challenging to pack" vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, which were the primary focus of this project due to their tougher packaging requirements.

"For our retail Frozen Bag Category, we aimed to replace our historical multi-material metalized film, which can be difficult to recycle,” says Arnaud Warusfel, packaging development manager, Bonduelle Europe Long Life. “We selected a mono-material PE solution without adhesives to facilitate easier recycling compared to multi-material solutions. Throughout the development process, we encountered numerous challenges but successfully overcame them with the technical expertise of Constantia Drukpol and ExxonMobil."

In the lab, the reinforced solution for "challenging to pack" vegetables demonstrated superior puncture and tear resistance, encouraging Bonduelle to conduct a factory trial. The film performed well on Bonduelle’s vertical form fill seal (VFFS) packaging line, showing robust abrasion resistance and maintaining high speeds, which were key to its adoption, in addition to a marketplace acceptance for Bonduelle brand to stand out on shelves.

Constantia Drukpol was selected for its HD flexography printing expertise and experience in blown coextrusion film, lamination, laser cutting and pouch-making.

"ExxonMobil was responsible for polymer production, and our team at Constantia Drukpol focused on film production and excellence in printing,” says Marc Rademacher, executive vice president of consumer commercial, Constantia Flexibles. “The results were impressive: The new packaging has also been positively welcomed by the market in terms of quality and aesthetics.”