Amcor offers sustainable solutions and new technologies in cheese packaging

By Alyssa Mitchell

Photo courtesy of Amcor
A FULL PORTFOLIO — Amcor offers cheese and dairy manufacturers a full product portfolio that meets the needs of retail, bulk and foodservice customers.
Photo courtesy of Amcor
INNOVATION AND COLLABORATION — Amcor’s Innovation Center in Wisconsin helps customers to accelerate packaging ideas through collaboration, prototyping and hands-on research.

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Amcor — a global leader in developing and producing packaging for foods, beverages and other industries — has made significant investments in recent years to increase capabilities and leverage new technologies for dairy customers.
Earlier this year, Amcor completed its acquisition of Bemis Co. Inc., a significant milestone as two strong companies with histories each dating back more than 150 years look forward to one great future, company officials say.

“The acquisition of Bemis brings additional scale, capabilities and footprint that will strengthen Amcor’s industry leading value proposition and generate significant value for shareholders,” says Derrick Sytsma, vice president and general manager, dairy, Amcor.

Amcor is focused on making packaging that is increasingly light-weight, recyclable and reusable, and made using a rising amount of recycled content. The Bemis acquisition now brings Amcor’s workforce to approximately 48,000 employees generating $13 billion in sales from operations that span about 250 locations in 40-plus countries.

The company’s roots began in the dairy space, and it continues its commitment to grow and innovate in the dairy industry today, Sytsma notes.

With North American headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Amcor offers cheese and dairy manufacturers a full product portfolio across rigid and flexible dairy packaging, meeting the needs of retail, bulk and foodservice customers.

• Product offerings

“Amcor’s portfolio provides greater flexibility to our customers,” says John Kearny, market manager, dairy, Amcor. “With our wide range of standard products, we can offer 3-week lead times to our customers. Along with our technology and product quality, we feel this level of responsiveness will enable us to support our customers at the highest level in the industry.

Kearny notes Amcor’s cheese portfolio includes products for specialty cheese applications as well, including cheese foils with easy opening and paraffin-free paper-based packaging.

Amcor’s product applications span a range of cheese styles as well as other dairy products.

The company offers flow wrap, forming and non-forming films for chunk, sliced and crumbled cheese, as well as vertical and horizontal form-fill-seal options for shredded and cubed cheese.

With continued growth in the snacking segment, Amcor offers flow wrap, forming and non-forming, lidding films and trays, as well as overwrap and innerwrap for individually wrapped singles. The company also offers solutions for bulk shredded cheese and natural and processed loaf and sliced cheese, including films, shrink bags, wax and non-wax offerings.

In addition, the company provides form-fill-seal cups and lidding films for creamers and yogurt.

Suzanne Betker, director of marketing, dairy, Amcor, notes it’s important to develop packaging solutions that address well-known key drivers of change, such as millennial tastes, retail fragmentation, labor availability, away-from-home consumption and snacking.

“Our Catalyst design process leverages our full range of development capabilities to develop packaging that is in step with the changing end-market and enables our customers to thrive in times of change,” she says.

Catalyst is what Amcor calls its approach to customer engagement inclusive of a set of resources and capabilities designed to help its customers solve challenges and grow through packaging innovation.

“The foundation of our approach is rooted in collaborative alignment, connecting industry knowledge and material science to market, consumer or customer insights for the best chances of success in the marketplace,” Betker says. “Working directly with our customers, we seek to understand by making sure we’re all asking the right questions. From there, we can create solutions that are better informed. All along the way, we look to command delivery of solution development under a lens of pragmatic execution.”

Responsiveness is more important now than ever before, adds Mike Barr, senior director of commercial dairy sales, Amcor.

“That’s why we’re establishing 3-week lead times across our core product portfolio. This is enabled by the scale and scope of our services and manufacturing capabilities. It’s an example of where Amcor’s resources enables and delivers speed to our customers,” Barr says.

Amcor also offers customers an Innovation Center in Wisconsin to accelerate packaging ideas through collaboration, prototyping and hands-on research.

“Innovation is a key priority for Amcor,” Betker says, noting the Innovation Center houses scientists and is a place for customers to utilize tools and take advantage of the Catalyst design process that is unique to the company.

“We have one of the greatest collections of polymers scientists in the industry,” Barr adds. “The Innovation Center is a great resource for our customers and end users.”

• Sustainable solutions

Amcor is the first global packaging company pledging to develop all its packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2025. The company also is committed to significantly increasing its use of recycled materials.

“We’re making strong progress against this ambitious goal and are developing and working on innovative initiatives across the business,” Betker says.

“We’re very proud to be the first company out there to make this pledge,” Kearny says, adding the company wants to be able to create products that perform well in its customers’ facilities and drive sustainable solutions.

Kearny says it is important for the industry to provide responsible stewardship for the planet’s resources, and Amcor is in a leadership position with the scope of resources that it is deploying to address this challenge.

“If your company is trying to figure out how to implement sustainable solutions, there are a number of options that can be acted on before moving to a recyclable or reusable package,” Betker adds. “These include optimizing pack sizes to reduce food waste, using higher performance packaging films to reduce leakage rates, increasing shelf life and providing high abuse resistance to reduce waste and improve efficiencies, or using less material through light weighting while still maintaining key performance attributes.”

• Moving with the market

As consumer preferences change, it’s important for Amcor to understand how its packaging can fit into the evolving consumer lifestyle, Kearny says, noting the company is focusing on differentiation on the shelf.
“Our customers face challenges every day, but our high performance materials allow them to run faster and drive opportunity in the market. We want to help everyone be profitable,” he says.

“We have a very diverse portfolio, so we’re open and unbiased about what type of package format our customers may want,” Betker adds. “We’re able to stay on top of changing market needs. We the have the ability to understand market trends and translate them into retail solutions.”

Amcor’s size and scope allows it to offer resources competitors may not have, she adds.

“The opportunity lies with increasing the usage of cheese, particularly during snacking occasions,” Kearny says. “More than 50% of consumers say that packaging influences their snacking decisions as convenient on-the-go and minimal prep or clean up formats are key. With our broad offering, we can collaboratively find a solution that meets our customers’ operational and market needs.”

He adds that as the consumer base evolves with various generations, packaging options need to satisfy all of them.

“We have great people and a great culture that wants to see our customers succeed,” he says. “We’re out there fighting for the dairy business and its growth in the marketplace.”


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