US based Wrigley is set to switch from aluminium foil wrappers to paper for the packaging of its five leading chewing-gum brands.
The company said the packaging initiative will save about 850 tonnes of aluminium foil, keeping the equivalent of 60 million cans a year out of landfills, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.
The article claims the switch to aluminium will be seen across the Juicy Fruit, Doublemint, Wrigley's Spearmint, Winterfresh and Big Red ranges but that Wrigley will retain the traditional foil wrappers on its Extra brand gum and the coloured versions on its 5 brand.
The move is seen to be cost effective as Wrigley revealed that the paper packaging will result in an outlay 13 per cent less than foil procurement costs, and the company stressed that the migration from aluminium to paper will not affect the sensory for shelf life properties of the chewing gum.
However, industry analysts may be perplexed as to the clear cut environmental benefits of the swap from foil wraps to paper by Wrigley as aluminium is known to be one of the easiest and most commonly recycled packaging materials.
According to findings of a North America based Mintel survey released last month, 19 per cent of respondents want gum and mints to have more environmentally sustainable packaging.
However, the participants also stated that they believe functionality is crucial in the gum packaging category, with nearly 50 per cent of people cited packaging that reseals better or is easier to open as being most important.
Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel, said that while not entirely recession proof, products such as gum, mints and breath fresheners are faring well on the US market due to their low price points and the feeling that consumers are getting a small treat.
“In addition, innovative packaging and unique flavours are aiding in the upward sales momentum,” he said.
And the market analysts forecast that the category will continue to grow through to 2014.