UK – The confectionery and chocolate manufacturer in the UK, Mars Wrigley UK, has switched its chocolate bars from plastic wrappers to recyclable paper packaging, which is environmentally friendly.

The new innovative wrappers are being trialed at 500 Tesco stores nationwide in the UK, starting this week, for a limited time, a spokesperson for the confectionery giant said. Mars is exploring and testing different types of environmentally friendly materials for Mars Food’s chocolate bars.

The move is part of the company’s initiative to explore different types of packaging and said it would use the feedback to inform future packaging pilots.

Mars Wrigley UK general manager Adam Grant was quoted by the publication as saying: “With our Mars bar pilot project, we are taking a big step to see how paper-based packaging works in everyday life. From the test, we will derive insights into our sustainable packaging strategy.

“While challenges may impact the pace of progress towards our vision, we at Mars Incorporated are committed to scaling up viable solutions where recycling options exist, and to test, learn, partner, and advocate where they don’t.”

Mars announced the pilot after it revealed plans to switch to sustainable packaging for its chocolate bars in Australia and New Zealand in November last year.

The company will introduce recyclable paper-based wrappers for its Mars, Snickers, and Milky Way products in April last year, in Australia.

The transition supported Mars’ commitment to the New Zealand Plastic Packaging Declaration and ANZPAC Plastics Pact. It is expected to reduce a total of 11 t of plastic waste in New Zealand landfills.

In September 2022, Mars partnered with plastic packaging manufacturer Berry Global to launch snack jars made with recycled plastic content. The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) jars are made with a single-pellet, food-grade resin and claimed to contain 15% post-consumer resin.

Mars said it is investing a significant amount in different types of packaging and meeting its goal of reducing the use of virgin plastics by a quarter in the short-term, while also increasing its use of recycled plastic in its packaging.

Richard Sutherland-Moore, a packaging expert at Mars Wrigley UK’s research and development center, noted: “For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate, whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality, and integrity of the product to prevent food waste.”

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