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Edible oil packs: Trivium Packaging highlights metal’s superiority to plastic and glass

#Edible oil packs: Trivium Packaging highlights metal’s superiority to plastic and glass

Alison Burns, strategic sustainability and beverage project manager at Trivium Packaging.
Alison Burns, strategic sustainability and beverage project manager at Trivium Packaging.

18 Mar 2024 — In an exclusive interview with Trivium Packaging, the spotlight falls on metal packaging’s transformative role in the edible oil industry. Packaging Insights speaks to the company’s strategic sustainability and beverage project manager, Alison Burns, and director of strategy and business development, Chas Aylsworth, about the “fairly new category” utilizing aluminum packaging.

Burns sheds light on the sustainability front, underscoring metal’s infinite recyclability and its role in curbing environmental degradation. Meanwhile, Aylsworth delves into the benefits of metal packaging, emphasizing its prowess in reducing food waste and bolstering brand promotion.

The duo reveals Trivium’s strategies, from innovative bottle designs to refillable solutions, poised to “revolutionize” the sector.

What strategies are implemented to educate consumers about the benefits of metal packaging for oils?
Burns: Our set of nine Eco-design standards was developed to drive sustainability for our products, creating environmentally friendly packaging that matters for brands and consumers. Our activities include reduction of material use, reduction of carbon emissions, reuse and refillable innovations, and reduction in production waste through activities such as line optimization. It’s essential that we partner with our customers from initial concept to product launch to develop new solutions that make a difference constantly.


Trivium has three innovation centers around the globe focused on innovative activities and developments, and our customers know that Trivium is dedicated to supporting them in providing the best in metal packaging.

Our clients are knowledgeable about the benefits of metal and confident in their decision to use it for packaging, enabling them to communicate those messages to their customers, the end consumers. In addition, industry associations and coalitions such as Metal Packaging Europe, The Canned Good Coalition, Can Manufacturer’s Institute and the Aluminum Association are all working with companies in our industry to help spread the word to consumers about the benefits of metal.

What barriers hinder the broader adoption of metal packaging for oils?
Aylsworth: Virtually none. While historically, metal packaging has been focused on large-volume production, that is no longer the case. Trivium can support large and small edible oil customers together with our fillers. Metal has far more benefits to the oil segment than may be known. Historically, oil has been packaged in glass, which is easily prone to breakage, especially in slippery conditions, making it a safety concern and often challenging to work with on filling lines. Plastic eventually became popular due to its lighter weight and flexibility; however, with both packaging types, the oil is not best protected from light and oxygen, reducing the product’s shelf life.

Trivium Packaging's strategic sustainability and beverage project manager Alison BurnsMigrating from plastic or glass to metal (aluminum or steel) for edible oils is simplistic, with no expensive or complicated machinery needed, says Trivium Packaging.For producers looking to switch to metal packaging, migrating from plastic or glass to metal (aluminum or steel) is simplistic, with no expensive or complicated machinery needed. Metal offers a variety of options that meet the needs of the producer and the needs of the consumer as consumer trends drive for differentiation, sustainability and convenience. Metals can be directly printed, eliminating the need for secondary packaging. Alternatively, customers can apply a label or shrink sleeve when necessary.

How does metal packaging compare to plastic and glass?
Aylsworth: Metal has long been a source of food packaging, and while cans today have the same excellent benefits in product protection and preservation, they have also come a long way in innovation from that first can in 1810. Reducing food waste is one of the most significant benefits of using metal for the food sector. One-third of all food produced goes to waste, but metal packaging’s superior shelf life can reduce that. On average, plastic packaging can only preserve food for up to three months. Metal packaging can preserve food for up to five years.

In addition, the canning process often takes food directly from the farm to the can within hours of being picked, and because metal blocks UV light, moisture and oxygen from permeating the product, contents are naturally preserved for longer shelf life. In contrast to glass, metal is lightweight and does not break, which is an advantage in the filling, storage and transportation processes.

When it comes to brand promotion, metal packaging can help brands grow. A study by NYU’s Stern Center for Sustainable Business found that sustainability-marketed products have grown yearly since 2015, with a significant share increase during the pandemic and 2022 inflation. Moreover, they are contributing to a disproportionate share of the CPG category growth. Products marketed as sustainable grew two times faster than those that were not.

The most recent Buying Green Report, a consumer survey conducted by Trivium that focused on consumer’s values and behaviors regarding sustainable packaging, found that 79% of consumers are looking for products in sustainable packaging. 82% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products in sustainable packaging, rising to 88% with younger consumers.

What innovations are you developing to set metal packaging for oils apart from its material counterparts?
Aylsworth: Innovation comes in many forms, from shape, design and style to printing and graphics developments to lightweighting and other sustainability advances. When consumers think of metal packaging for edible oils, they often think of the rectangular cans typically used in wholesale and bulk. Using Trivium’s manufacturing technology, a wide variety of bottle shapes and sizes can be created for edible oils, making the bottles ideal for use in the home with beautiful designs and eye-catching graphics. Chas Aylsworth, director of strategy and business developmentChas Aylsworth, director of strategy and business development at Trivium Packaging.

Many sectors, including edible oils, are utilizing innovations in refillable solutions. Many of Trivium’s metal packaging solutions have been used as refills, both in being the forever vessel to be refilled and in being the recyclable package used to refill, often used with heavy decorative glass bottles where the benefits of lightweight refills help to reduce weight and cost in shipping as well as utilize a lower energy consumption in the production and recycling processes.

For oil, the price of the package is a small component of the total cost. There is a delta between plastic and aluminum, but essentially no delta between glass and aluminum. The differentiation that metal offers over plastic can overcome the price gap. Research shows that 66% of consumers consider themselves environmentally aware, with 79% looking for products in sustainable packaging and 82% being willing to pay more for sustainable packaging, according to the 2023 Buying Green report.

By Radhika Sikaria

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