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High-barrier paper delivers for Wallaroo Foods

25 November 2022

Sappi, a manufacturer of packaging and specialty papers, contributed to a sustainable packaging solution for snack producer, Wallaroo Foods. 

Since it was established in 2018, Wallaroo has focused on sustainability throughout its entire production process. The company works with small community producers in Africa to ensure that its organic fruit is grown with respect for the environment, and to guarantee a fair and sustainable livelihood for growers. Ripe fruit it is harvested and moved directly to a nearby certified drying facility. The fruit is cut and dried using solar power. To keep the company’s carbon footprint as low as possible, the dried and packed fruit is forwarded by ship.

Wallaroo had found sourcing sustainable packaging for its dried fruit snack to be a challenge. It wanted an affordable recyclable solution that avoided the use of synthetic materials. “It was a difficult process for us,” explained Abhisek Kanoi, co-founder of Wallaroo Foods. “In the UK, there are no common standards and so many differences between the many options we investigated. Even some of the best recyclable solutions we examined contained a large share of plastics – something we wanted to pare down to the absolute minimum.” 

The OPM Group, Wallaroo’s label and packaging partner, introduced the company to Sappi’s Guard Gloss 4-OHG paper-based high-barrier product. 

Arnie Ellison, new business development director at OPM, was impressed with the product: “We were surprised to experience outstanding runnability using normal inks or matt finish. With its glossy premium look and feel, Sappi’s one side single-coated paper made quite an impression on us.” The small, irregularly shaped fruit pieces proved difficult to process and it took some time to adjust the machines. Wallaroo never lost sight of its goal and finally succeeded in packaging the fruit snacks in paper at a processing speed of 40 bags a minute. “Initially, we tested only one line with dried fruit such as mango and pineapple,” said Kanoi. “After three months of trials, the quality offered by the 91g/m² grammage proved to be the perfect choice.” 

After deploying the high-barrier paper for its fruit snacks, Wallaroo now has ambitious plans to use it for even more challenging applications: “We are currently testing Guard Gloss with naturally oily products such as roasted corn, beans and nuts, which usually leave greasy spots on paper. If everything works out as planned, we will be introducing a new generation of pouches to our customers by early next year,” said Kanoi. 

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