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Metsä Board collaborates with industry experts to create the world’s lightest pizza box

This pizza box is far from ordinary. We sought to collaborate with the best professionals in the industry to create a food-safe packaging that would reduce both material and printing ink usage, benefitting the environment without compromising performance, function or print quality.

The result is a high functioning pizza box that is most likely the lightest in the world with this kind of performance. The innovative solution is showcased to the global packaging industry during the Interpack fair in Düsseldorf between 4–10 May.

The qualities of this light pizza box outshine traditional solutions. “Compared to traditional solutions, the weight and material consumption of the box have been reduced by approximately 30%. The fresh fibre MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright used for the box weighs 80 g/m2 (16 lbs/1000ft2). Despite the reduced weight, the E-flute corrugated board box’s structure provides the box with the necessary rigidity and the fresh fibre material the necessary purity to carry a freshly baked pizza. All the corrugated board layers are made of the same material, which makes the production logistics efficient too.” Ilkka Harju, Packaging Services Director at Metsä Board explains.

The visual outlook of the pizza box was designed by Futupack and the packaging was manufactured by Adara Pakkaus. The lightweight paperboard substrate was provided by Metsä Board to provide a better, safer, and more sustainable solution for food-grade applications. It is a fully bleached, uncoated white kraftliner suitable for flexo, offset, and digital inkjet printing and is available in a basis weight range of 70-160 g/m².

Focus on printability

Special attention was given to the printing qualities of the packaging. Researcher and an expert on ECG Expanded Gamut printing, Dr Kai Lankinen, provided valuable consultation on the graphic design, prepress, and flexographic printing requirements.

“Here in the Nordics we are committed to producing high-quality products while living in harmony with nature. Working with Metsä Board and their team has been inspiring. What sets this project apart is the focus on the entire cycle of the product, beyond just the liner board material, with a special emphasis on printing quality, efficiency, and sustainability. To achieve this goal, Metsä Board brought together professionals from various domains to collaborate. In the design phase, the team took into account the possibilities and requirements of flexographic printing, which lead to excellent print result, even though this is an uncoated paper stock.” Dr Lankinen describes the project.

Ground-breaking use of colour

To showcase the excellent printing properties of the material, Finnish packaging manufacturer Adara Pakkaus was brought in to produce the corrugated material and printing of the box. The company is known for its innovativeness and high quality and was recently recognized with a gold medal and best of show award at the 2023 FTA Excellence of Flexography Awards in the USA.

In the case of this pizza box, the high-resolution CMYK image was enriched with spot green and line black colors to enable a bright solid green combined with rich black texts. MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright allowed a high-quality image printing in CMYK. Traditionally this has not been possible and images have been printed with only a few line colors.

The material’s high whiteness provides superb print contrast for high-quality packaging. Its uncoated surface gives an attractive matte look and tactile feel, opening up several possibilities for an uncoated kraftliner. It can be used for all-white corrugated board, as a top or reverse-side liner, and also as fluting. The E-flute solution offers a consistent and good printing surface for utilizing a large contrast range of process printing from lightest highlights to darkest shadows while maintaining excellent details.

Small in weight, big in sustainability

Once the innovative pizza box was created, Metsä Board’s Sustainability Service compared the packaging to existing solutions and made a detailed analysis of its environmental impact by looking at both the material and the production. Compared to traditional solutions made of recycled fibre, the weight of the fresh fibre pizza box made of MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright was up to 38% lighter and its carbon footprint up to 50% lower. Making it a great option for clients looking for more sustainable options.

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