Stora Enso and Budelpack Poortvliet said they will introduce the new contract filling and packing dry foods, including snacks, cereals and confectionery, in airtight paperboard cups.
"This makes it quick and easy for brand owners to switch to this innovative packaging solution without the need for any new investments," the companies stated in a press release.
The service seems particularly targeted at the private label market, which is challenging the reign of famous brands produced by processors. European sales of private label goods has now reached €207 billion, accounting for 23 per cent of total consumer packaged goods spending, according to a recent Datamonitor report.
Packaging board producer Stora Enso said it has signed a cooperation agreement with contract food packer Budelpack Poortvliet in the Netherlands for the production and filling of their cups.
The two companies will provide the service from a single source using the specially developed packaging materials, airtight cup construction and printing, and the filling process.
The cup-filler and auxiliary equipment at Budelpack Poortvliet can fill powders and solids in airtight cups from 125ml to 750ml. Budelpack plans to have the cup-filling line ready by May this year.
"Market entry with a new fibre-based package has often been quite difficult for brand owners, considering the time and investment required," the companies stated.
The airtight paperboard cup was created by Stora Enso, which also produces the material from which it is made.
The cup meets growing consumer demand for environmentally sustainable packaging materials and user-friendly convenience packages, the company stated.
"The cup is handy and its portion size suits today's convenience-driven consumer who eats on the go, wherever and whenever he or she wishes," the companies claimed. "In some product segments, the new airtight cup can open up possibilities for brand owners to sell their products through new outlets, such as cafés and service stations."
The cup concept is based on Stora Enso's specially developed paperboards with high-barrier coatings, which protect the food content against moisture, oxygen and grease. It can be used for dry foods, such as instant soups, instant ready meals, snacks, chips and dried fruits; breakfast cereals, flakes and muesli; chocolate, sugar confectionery and biscuits.
Optional board materials are available for the most sensitive products that also require protection from light.
Business Insights says that the displacement of regular mealtimes by quick snacking occasions looks set to continue throughout Europe.
The average UK meal preparation time has gone down from two hours two generations ago to 20 minutes today.
Similarly, in the US, the NPD Groups Eating in America Study found that 44 per cent of all weekly meals are prepared in less than 30 minutes.