IRELAND – Finnish food packaging specialist, Huhtamaki has inaugurated a new, state-of-the-art foodservice packaging manufacturing facility dedicated for producing paper straws in Northern Ireland.

Located in Antrim, Belfast, the new facility is expected to employ approximately 100 people over the next few years.

Huhtamaki said it plans to expand the range of products manufactured at the site to other paper-based product categories and further investments in additional manufacturing equipment are planned for 2020-2022.

The straws are 100% made from paper sourced from sustainably managed forests.

“At Huhtamaki we are continuously looking for ways to improve the environmental performance of our products and to introduce new, more sustainable packaging innovations,” said Ciaran Doherty, General Manager for Huhtamaki Foodservice in Northern Ireland.

“The launch of our paper straws is a good example of this.

“We are extremely proud to support our customers in their strategy to have a more sustainable and environmentally responsible supply chain by opening this new site.”

With the new facility Huhtamaki now has three manufacturing sites in Northern Ireland employing altogether about 560 people.

It expands the firm’s capabilities in paper straws after launching a new line to increase availability of sustainable choices and alternatives to plastic straws.

The paper straws are made of fiber and paper that is PEFC certified, making them suitable for various food and beverages applications.

The straws are said to be manufactured in facilities with highest safety standards and have been tested and certified for food safety in Europe, China and the United States.

Huhtamaki plans to expand paper straw manufacturing to further manufacturing units in Europe during 2019.

The company which recently appointed Charles Heaulme as President and CEO has invested US$26.03 million in a new flexible packaging facility in Egypt.

The plant is expected to serve the Egyptian market, export into other African countries as well as Europe.