BELGIUM – The paperboard used to manufacture chocolate has to be carefully chosen to ensure taste and odour neutrality, said Tom Du Caju and his colleagues at Du Caju Printing & Packaging in Belgium when describing their experiences in food packaging.
“When we choose the paperboard for chocolate packaging, the decisive factor is taste and odour neutrality,” said Tom. “Of course the paperboard must be suitable for the construction we have chosen but if we do not minimise the risk of the chocolate acquiring an off-taste from the packaging material then the rest does not matter.”
Du Caju is located in Erpe-Mere, just west of Brussels. With almost 50 employees and annual net sales of EUR 10 million, the company regards itself as a medium-sized Belgian converter. Of the packaging Du Caju produces, 85% is food related and 11% is chocolate packaging.
“In addition, just over 10% of what we do is packaging with direct contact between the food and the packaging material,” says key account manager Koen Penne. “We are choosing our food contact materials such as paperboard very carefully to avoid taint, odour and migration problems.”
Du Caju has been working with the world’s largest chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, for more than 25 years, and is regularly asked to create sophisticated promotional packaging for Callebaut as a sales tool and brand enhancer.
The latest creation, The Origin Box, has an outer box made of a brown-coloured speciality paper from James Cropper, Colorscope Bitter Chocolate 350 g/m2. Inside the box are samples of chocolate from a number of countries. Each sample is packed in a wedge-shaped box made of Incada Silk 300 g/m2 from Iggesund Paperboard.
The box also features a wheel giving information about the different types of chocolate. The wheel is printed on Invercote Creato 400 g/m2, also from Iggesund Paperboard, and is covered with the same material as the outer box.
The brown material has a very matt appearance and a very natural look. In addition, the brown colour and the uncoated sides give a very good indication of the look of chocolate.
“We have learned from experience that only virgin fibre is good enough for this type of packaging,” comments Erwin Heeren, an experienced purchaser at Du Caju. “In choosing materials we also get support from our customer, Barry Callebaut, who tests all packaging materials for up to sixty days in its own sensory laboratory.”
As a purchaser he must also keep up to date with both the environmental debate and the discussion about how mineral oils in recycled-fibre-based materials can contaminate packaged foods.
“We are following the mineral oil debate with great interest, as are our most knowledgeable customers,” Erwin says. “However, we are not seeing any increased demand for traceability certificates for paperboard materials – neither FSC nor PEFC. That demand is constant at between 3-5% of our total volume.”