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Albert Heijn first to use bio-PEF for own brand packaging

Albert Heijn first to use bio-PEF for own brand packaging
Marit van Egmond (left) CEO of Albert Heijn, and Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium (photo courtesy Avantium).

In the Netherlands sustainable chemistry company Avantium N.V., has announced collaborating with compatriot foodstuffs, and consumer goods distributor and retailer Albert Heijn, part of Ahold Delhaize, to make packaging more sustainable. To this end, Avantium's 100 percent plant-based and circular material polyethylene furanoate (PEF) is being used for various forms of packaging.

Refresco, the global independent beverage solutions provider for Global, National, and Emerging (GNE) brands, and retailers, produces Albert Heijn’s new fruit juice bottle made out of PEF.

This will be the first PEF application to be introduced in Albert Heijn stores, once Avantium’s commercial plant for PEF is operational.

As a beverage solutions provider, we are continuously looking for innovative ways to produce soft drinks, fruit juices, and other drinks. Reducing, recycling, and making packaging more sustainable is an important element of our strategy. With PEF we are able to offer an alternative sustainable packaging solution to our customers. We are therefore pleased that Refresco, Avantium, and Albert Heijn are now working together to bring this new fruit juice bottle to market, said Alexander van Assouw, Managing Director of Refresco Benelux.

Albert Heijn is the first supermarket chain in the world to introduce PEF packaging for own-brand products.

From the mission ‘Together we make eating better the easy choice. For everyone.’, Albert Heijn wants to pass on a liveable earth to future generations. To make that possible, one of our goals is to make packaging more sustainable. Besides packaging reduction, recyclability, and reuse, fossil-free materials are high on our wish list. With the use of PEF, we are giving substance to this, said Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn.

Avantium’s PEF is a 100 percent plant-based and fully recyclable polymer with a wide range of applications including bottles and packaging, films, and textiles.

In addition to its sustainable packaging benefits, Avantium’s PEF has superior barrier properties, extending the shelf life of beverages and food.

Avantium is currently constructing the world’s first commercial plant in Delfzijl for 5,000 tonnes of furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), the key building block for PEF, with commercial production expected to start in the second half of 2024.

Thereafter, PEF production will be further scaled up to plants of 100,000 tonnes and more for large-scale production of FDCA and PEF through technology licensing.

We are proud that Albert Heijn is the first supermarket chain to start using PEF for packaging. With Albert Heijn as a partner, Avantium can further scale up and expand the PEF value chain to meet the growing global demand for circular and renewable material solutions. This is what the materials transition is about: ensuring that consumers can access sustainable and innovative products on a commercial scale, said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium.

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