Mars UK to remove a million miles a year from roads with £350m sustainable logistics operation

A new, multi-year partnership between Mars and DHL will see the construction of two state of the art warehousing facilities and the creation of a world class logistics operation. The new sites, based in the Midlands and East London, represent an investment of £350m and have been designed with sustainability at front of mind. The project will reduce Mars’ outbound logistics carbon footprint in the UK by 7.7%. The buildings themselves will be partially solar powered and rated in the top 1% of non-domestic buildings in UK environmentally. Mars UK transport over 1.2 million pallets of their products every year – which, if you stack those pallets on top of each other, is the equivalent of shipping the height of Mount Everest every other day. The new logistics operation will remove a million miles a year from roads – which is 40 times around the world or 8,547 times around the M25 – all while increasing warehousing capacity by over 50%, ensuring that Mars is well positioned to keep pace with increasing consumer demand and deliver their portfolio of products to future generations. Tim Walker, Supply Chain Director at Mars UK said: “Our partnership with DHL will deliver a world class logistics operation that is sustainable, smart and agile. What is good for our business is also good for the planet. This project is a meaningful step in our sustainability journey as we look to create the world we want tomorrow – which we know starts with how we do business today.” Jim Hartshorne, Managing Director, Retail & Consumer & Ireland, DHL Supply Chain said: “We’re delighted to be extending our global partnership with Mars in the construction and management of these sites. Our shared environmental commitments are supported by this investment and we are creating long term, exciting jobs in both of these communities. This project will be the foundation of the UK logistics chain for Mars for many years to come and we are incredibly proud to be selected to lead in this project.” The two purpose-built depots, ‘East Midlands Gateway’ and ‘London Thames Gateway’, will be operational in the spring of 2022 and 2023 respectively. The sites will have a combined square footage of over a million feet and they will both have state of the art high bay facilities which include innovative automated pallet storage.

Kingsmoor Packaging launches lightweighting initiative

Somerset-based thermoformed packaging firm, Kingsmoor Packaging, has recently launched a new lightweighting initiative known as KPL Cirrus™. A year in development, the move is part of the company’s continued drive to make their plastic products as sustainable and recyclable as possible. Having made significant investments during 2020 to improve workflow and provide increased capacity, as well as making reductions to their waste and energy consumption though green initiatives, the introduction of KPL Cirrus adds further impetus and clout to their sustainability vision. Pioneered by Kingsmoor’s R&D team, KPL Cirrus works by creating a unique pattern in the sidewalls of a thermoformed container. As the container is formed, a series of small pockets are created where material continually gets slightly ‘affixed’ during the thermoforming process – this in turn creates stronger sidewalls with less material, thereby creating a much lighter yet stronger pack. “As expected, there has been considerable positive interest in KPL Cirrus from our customers,” said Kingsmoor Packaging’s Managing Director, James Hill. “And while we appreciate that lightweighting might not be the ultimate answer to producing sustainable packaging, KPL Cirrus™ represents an important step towards achieving a more sustainable solution to a hugely complex problem. “Amongst the positives in this scenario – the use of less energy, less material and the increase in transport efficiency – lightweighting is ultimately about utilising the great benefits that plastics bring to food packaging, but using only what is totally necessary to make the product fit for purpose. “The initiative also enables both our customers and ourselves to reduce carbon emissions wherever we can.” As a privately-owned family-business, Kingsmoor Packaging manufactures 100% recyclable food grade packaging solutions in rPET and closed loop recycled PP for the food industry. The firm has built an excellent reputation for service and quality by offering a fully integrated in-house design and tooling service, combined with their state-of-the-art thermoforming machines. This single source offering allows them to be nimble and flexible in their operation, which for many brands is a strong selling point.

Dwayne Johnson one fourth of brand behind first-of-its-kind energy drink

A new healthy energy drink has been launched by a team of fitness, health and beverage industry changemakers including Dwayne Johnson. Available for purchase in March 2021, ZOA is a “re-imagined, first-of-its-kind” energy drink packed with clean, natural caffeine from green coffee and green tea, powerful antioxidants from camu camu and acerola, as well as vitamin D and a unique blend of vitamins and nutrients that support immune function and elevate energy levels. As well as Johnson, ZOA is co-founded by Dany Garcia, first female owner of a major professional sports league in the US, dedicated professional bodybuilder and one of the most successful producers in Hollywood; lauded fitness professional and consultant Dave Rienzi; and savvy businessman, entrepreneur and investor John Shulman. The Molson Coors Beverage Company will be the exclusive distribution partner for all retail locations as the company has recently made a series of moves to expand their product offerings beyond beer. “I am delighted to share ZOA with the customers we passionately serve. Throughout all my endeavors, I’m committed to cultivating the human experience and providing tools to be and perform at our best,” said Garcia. “Whether you’re the fiercest of athletes, pursuing excellence in the boardroom or simply need a bit more energy to conquer the day, ZOA is a clean, natural, and healthy drink providing you with the energy and nutrients that you need to take you to the next level.” Johnson said: “I’m very passionate about ZOA. I’m humbled and grateful for the opportunity to serve our eager consumers with ZOA – the ultimate healthy and immunity-supporting energy drink that’s the first of its kind, thanks to our unique combination of ingredients. “My co-founders and I spent the last 18 months formulating this healthy and great tasting product that we could all use now more than ever. Ensuring we packed it with the critical vitamins and immune support we ourselves consume daily. “ZOA is the world’s first and only healthy energy drink that contains our unique combination of 100% vitamin C, 100% vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B12, and vitamin D, along with other vital ingredients. ZOA includes a host of nutrients that work to support our immune systems and provide us with a healthy dose of the caffeinated edge we need for focus, balance and success throughout our day.” ZOA will make its March debut on the ZOA website and Amazon, followed by natural, conventional and convenience stores. Those interested in learning more and being the first to receive news about ZOA can do so at and on social media @zoaenergy.

Brazilian meatless-meat brand, Future Farm, launches in UK

Future Farm, the major Brazilian meatless-meat brand, has officially launched into the UK. The range is made from 100% natural ingredients and is GMO & gluten free. It consists of Future Meatballs, Future Burgers, Future Sausages and Future Mince, made using a blend of soy, pea and chickpea proteins. Future Farm – also known as Fazenda Futuro – invests almost a third of gross revenue into R&D, enabling it to create an innovative approach to product development. Just like tech products, its meatless foods are in a continual process of testing an improvement. As they ‘upgrade’, the products continually increase in quality, moving closer to the flavour, texture and juiciness of meat with each iteration. Future Farm has a clear goal: make meatpackers obsolete by both changing the way the global population consumes meat, and reducing meat consumption by getting people to switch to its meatless products that can match, or even exceed, animal products on flavour. But the brand also has a high environmental ambition that’s close to its heart: to buy back the Amazon from the meat industry by fostering the movement towards  GMO-free and deforestation free produce in place of those that are unethical and illegal. Fighting for biodiversity and against destruction of the rainforest, all of the brands suppliers have to be members of the Responsible Soy Association. Pedro Zuim, Marketing Director for Future Farm said: “In Brazil we have the world’s greatest natural resource, the Amazon rainforest, but it’s being destroyed to grow soy to feed animals. “It just didn’t make sense to us. By replicating the same satisfaction we get from eating meat, using plants, we have revolutionised food in a way that is good for the people, the planet, and your plate.” Since launching last year in meat-loving Brazil, where over 70% of the population regularly consumes meat, has eaten more than 9 million of Future Burgers, with sales accounting for a staggering 23% of all burger sales (including meat) in Brazil’s biggest retailer. Millions more are now being enjoyed across the globe. Future Farm products are now available in Sainsbury’s across the UK.

Minor Figures launches UK’s first Barista Semi-Oat Milk

Minor Figures has launched the UK’s first Barista Semi-Oat Milk in Waitrose and Morrison’s stores nationwide. Adding to its growing range of barista standard dairy alternatives, as part of its mission to democratise vegan and plant-based diets, the new Semi Oat Milk plugs a gap in current retail offerings within this category. As the first to bring a barista semi product to the market, Minor Figures aims to help consumers who are consciously seeking to reduce sugar intake while maintaining a plant-based diet, bridging the gap for those who want to enjoy great coffee without compromise. 2020 saw the brand grow from a B2B model, servicing coffee shops, to an expanding offering within the consumer market, launching into key retail stores as well as establishing its ecommerce platform. Minor Figures has successfully secured listings across Amazon, Booths, Abel & Cole, Farmdrop, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett, in addition to growing its footprint in coffee shops to over 4,000 nationally. Semi Oat Milk is also available from the company’s website, as well as Amazon and Farmdrop.

Eddie – the first certified edible ink desktop printer

Eddie is the world’s first NSF- and GMP-certified edible ink desktop printer that prints directly onto baked goods, confectionary and more. Printed food items can be up to 89 mm wide and will be dry and ready for sale immediately after printing. Eddie prints up to 6 print objects per minute. The included carousel feeder holds up to 12 items, rotates them to the print position, the printer pulls in one item at a time, prints and sends them back to the carousel – all automatically and hands-free. Eddie was designed from the beginning to meet or exceed all regulatory requirements for the specific purpose as an edible ink digital printer. The edible ink cartridge meets all FDA and EU standards for use as a food additive. The ink cartridge itself meets cGMP standards and the entire manufacturing and cartridge filling processes are FDA-compliant and cGMP certified. Click or tap here to find out more.

SweeGen scales up sweet taste solution toolbox

SweeGen has successfully scaled-up Bestevia Rebaudioside N (Reb N), a special zero-calorie natural stevia sweetener. Reb N is a naturally occurring sweetener found in stevia leaves. The unique sensory profile of Bestevia Reb N makes it especially attractive for beverage applications, which is an application space that has already been exclusively licensed out. Following SweeGen’s commercial announcements of Bestevia Rebs B and I this year, and with the addition of Reb N, the company’s portfolio of sugar reduction solutions is the broadest available in the industry for tackling sugar reduction challenges. “Bestevia Reb N has a unique sweet profile that helps us create solutions that have a taste profile closer to both full-calorie and high intensity sweeteners,” said Shari Mahon, SVP of global application technology. “Our solutions are one of the most unique and tailored in the industry because of our access to the widest range of Rebs for sugar reduction.”

Qualitas Health raises $10m to advance plant-based protein

Qualitas Health has secured $10 million in venture funds to globally expand its plant-based protein and omega-3 business. The investment round is being led by world-class foodTech investor PeakBridge VC, Malta, together with Arancia Group, a privately owned Mexico-based food ingredient/food service conglomerate, Minrav (the company’s largest investor) and additional private investors. The investment will accelerate customer acquisition, and commercialisation of the company’s unique plant-based protein. The funds will also be used to deepen its strong clinical science and IP and accelerate its expansion into additional geographies. Qualitas Health currently produces proprietary, clinically proven, high-absorption omega-3. It markets 15 supplement SKUs under the iwi brand in the US, including soft gels and functional gummies. “This investment will be instrumental to accelerating growth in 2021 as iwi advances to the industrial pilot stage of our unique plant-based protein, start the regulatory process, and conduct additional clinical studies,” says Miguel Calatayud, CEO of Qualitas Health. “This uniquely sourced, complete plant protein will be ready for commercialisation in 2022.” “This new investment round is a significant milestone for our company,” adds Calatayud. “We are fortunate to have such prominent partners join us in our journey and we are grateful to our existing and new shareholders for their commitment and ongoing support. iwi experienced significant growth in 2020 with online sales, and strong sales growth is forecast to continue in 2021.” “Qualitas ticks all the boxes for meeting our investment criteria,” contributes Nadav Berger, co-founder and Managing Partner of PeakBridge. “It has strong intellectual property, proven scaling capabilities, and tremendous sustainability impact — all of which give iwi a unique edge within the plant-based nutrition industry. We welcome Qualitas and its new and existing investors to the PeakBridge family.”

FrieslandCampina switches to 100% recycled PET bottles

Beginning next month, Dutch dairy co-operative FrieslandCampina will be making PET bottles from 100% recycled PET (rPET). Because a PET bottle can only be recycled if the consumer has removed the label, FrieslandCampina’s R&D department has additionally developed a brand new “zipper” that makes it easier to separate from the bottle. According to FrieslandCampina, this makes it the first company in the dairy sector to make its bottles virtually circular for its brands in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Hungary. “With the 100% recycled PET bottle, FrieslandCampina is taking a new step in making its packaging circular,” said Patrick van Baal, Global Director Packaging Development at FrieslandCampina. “Our ambition is to become fully circular. That is why we are increasing the recycled content of our PET bottles from 20% to 100%. This step is crucial because in order to achieve our sustainability goals, all packaging must first become recyclable and/or reusable.”

New winter edition brings warmth to Korean consumers

Daesang, one of the leading Korean health food producers, has chosen SIG’s Heat&Go, the world-leading microwaveable technology for aseptic carton packs, to launch its new Nucare™ Roasted Rice winter edition. Nucare™ is a complete nutritional dairy supplement drink with roasted rice, suitable for people who have difficulty swallowing or prefer liquid food as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. In Korea roasted rice is considered to be fortifying and also gives beverages a delicate taste and aroma. Choosing SIG’s innovative Heat&Go packaging solution for the new winter edition offers a quick and easy, complete meal replacement, which can be heated in a microwave to bring added value and convenience to this important target market. With a preference for warm on-the-go beverages among Asian consumers, most products have only been available in cafes or convenience stores until now. SIG’s Heat&Go microwaveable packaging innovation opens up a new channel for hot vending and using microwave ovens. In the past it has been a much more cumbersome process, with additional preparation required. Another nice effect is that the warmed packs can be a kind of handwarmer while enjoying the beverages outside in colder weather. Changwoo Choi, Chief Executive Officer at Daesang: “Our close cooperation with SIG gives us the best packaging solution to make life better for consumers. “Heat&Go brings a new level of convenience when it comes to on-the-go drinking comfort and the consumption of heated beverages. We’ve been able to extend our existing product portfolio at exactly the right time to take full advantage of new market opportunities.” Nucare™ winter edition is offered in SIG’s packaging format combiblocMini 200ml and is filled on standard SIG filling machines. A simple upgrade is all that is needed so the filler can run standard and microwaveable material interchangeably. The gentle aseptic process ensures the 22 vitamins and minerals in Nucare™ are retained and the delicate taste and aroma protected. Aluminium-free Heat&Go from SIG makes it possible to heat in the microwave without any compromise on product quality. Lawrence Fok, President and General Manager Asia-Pacific at SIG, said: “The barrier function of Heat&Go’s aseptic structure not only protects from light, oxygen, aroma loss and moisture, but also puts consumer safety as a top priority. “Working closely with the team at Daesang we’ve been able to improve its brand image through innovation and convenience. The ability to fill both standard and Heat&Go packaging material on the same filling machine also adds value. I’m sure the trend towards enjoying warm nutritional drinks will continue well beyond just winter months.” The partnership between SIG and Daesang offers true product innovation and differentiation as part of SIG’s Value Proposition, which aims to deliver innovative product and packaging solutions that enable businesses to satisfy ever-changing needs.