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Issue 06/2016

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Cover-Story The future

Cover-Story The future of NatureFlex What does Futamura’s acquisition of the Innovia Films’ Cellulose films business mean for the future of the NatureFlex films brand? Futamura, headquartered in Nagoya, Japan, is a leading global manufacturer of plastic and cellulosic materials including casings and non-wovens. Since July 2016, this also includes the leading brand names of Cellophane and renewable and compostable NatureFlex films. The acquisition positions Futamura as the global leader in cellulose films and the leading manufacturer of sustainable films for the flexible packaging market. Now with a global footprint across production sites in Japan, USA and the UK, as well as a network of sales offices, agents and distributors throughout the world, Futamura is better placed to meet its customers’ growing needs. Investment is already underway at the US production site in Tecumseh (Kansas), to upgrade manufacturing equipment to state-of-the-art technology. Futamura President, Yasuo Nagae, has also committed to continued investment in the rest of the business. This commitment stems from the company’s objectives to secure the longterm growth and sustainability of the business, rather than seeking immediate profits. Futamura’s goal is to use its wide cellulosic expertise and experience to further extend the technical capabilities of cellulosic materials, including NatureFlex. The NatureFlex films brand reputation continues to grow under Futamura’s guardianship. Marketing Manager at Futamura, Andy Sweetman, said; “The future has never looked brighter for our NatureFlex brand, the acquisition has been an extremely positive move for us. Futamura is committed to investing in the business and supports our team’s objectives to further develop our NatureFlex films innovative, value added and sustainable product range.” Recent Awards success with NatureFlex films German fine chocolate producer iChoc, has been awarded the Sweetie 2016 award that recognises the best confectionery of 2016, by a leading German grocery magazine, Rundschau für den Lebensmittelhandel, for their latest range of Vegan Chocolate that is wrapped in Futamura’s NatureFlex films. The iChoc bars are packaged in transparent NatureFlex NK film that offers excellent barrier properties ensuring the dairy free chocolate remains in premium condition. iChoc Chief Director, Andreas Meyer, received the Sweetie 2016 in Baden Baden and said; “I am delighted that iChoc, as a small vegan brand, has competed against the bigger German brands to win this award.” He added; “Packaging is a key component of our product as a whole; NatureFlex NK film is the ideal choice for iChoc as it not only reflects our ethical values, but provides the necessary barrier and machinability for packing.” Another success saw Futamura’s customer, Biobrush, announced as Winner 2016 in the Sustainability category of the German Packaging Institute’s Packaging Award 2016. The prestigious award, sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, has a jury made up of leading research and industry experts. Biobrush Toothbrushes are based on renewable resources; therefore, introducing a packaging film based on renewable cellulose was the logical move. The sustainable concept convinced the jury that NatureFlex films not only provide the necessary product protection and on-shelf appeal, but also the option to biodegrade and home compost the packaging after use. Nannett Wiedemann, managing director of Biobrush - Berlin, delighted with the award, said; “We have always been convinced, of course, that this concept is not only necessary but thrilling. However, it is absolutely fabulous for us to have independent, high profile, recognition of our product! Organic products require organic packaging, that´s for sure. We are happy to have found NatureFlex films.” Most recently, NatureFlex films was a finalist in the Resource Efficient Pack of the Year category at the prestigious UK Packaging Awards with Percol’s bio-based and compostable coffee capsules. The innovative Nespresso ® compatible capsules, developed by ATI (Advanced Technology Innovations) in collaboration with Bio4pack and Futamura, hold significant benefits for the environment; reduced packaging and enhanced shelf life. Thanks to the unique and outstanding barrier properties of the cups and NatureFlex film lidding, there is no need for an individual sachet overwrap. This reduces the environmental impact without compromise to the quality of the coffee and functionality of the coffee machine. 12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/16] Vol. 11

Cover-Story By: Lynne Quincey Communications Futamura Chemical UK Wigton Cumbria, UK The cups and NatureFlex film are bio-based and fully compostable according to the CEN standard EN 13432. After use, where waste collection infrastructure allows, the capsules can be thrown in the green waste bin for conversion into compost to act as a potential feed for soil improvement and subsequently further food and raw material production. Food Safety Developments Bioderived and compostable materials have historically been limited in the degree of protection they could offer. However, Futamura’s unique base film and coating technologies have been harnessed to provide unparalleled gas and moisture barrier properties without compromising either the levels of renewable raw materials employed or the final compostability of the packaging material. This excellent barrier also effectively addresses recent health concerns highlighted in a number of scientific studies regarding foods being contaminated by the migration of mineral oil from paper-board packaging. UK Packaging Award finalist Percol’s bio-based and compostable coffee capsules Futamura conducted a proactive investigation into the mineral oil hydrocarbon (MOH) and mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbon (MOAH) barrier of NatureFlex and Cellophane films, which led to them officially been proven to provide over 5 years protection from mineral oil migration, well beyond the required shelf-life of the vast majority of packaged foods. (Reference: Grob K, Test on barrier properties of 3 films. Available on request from Futamura.) In conclusion Futamura is proving itself to be an excellent guardian of the NatureFlex brand. With a commitment for continued investment, a string of recent awards successes and developments in food safety to better meet customer and consumer needs, the future looks very promising indeed for NatureFlex films. bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/16] Vol. 11 13

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