Produced with recycled plastic sourced using a mass balance approach (see box below), Walkers said the move would eliminate 200 tonnes of fossil-based plastic across Sunbites packaging by the end of 2025.
Mass balance approach
Packaging made with the mass balance approach contain a mix of both virgin and recycled plastics. The recycled feedstock is tracked and verified throughout the value chain, providing manufacturers with a credible claim for the amount of recycled material in their packaging.
The switch to 50% recycled packaging in its Sunbites packaging followed a series of sustainability improvements across the manufacturer’s snack portfolio, including the recent launch of new paper outer packaging for the entire Walkers Baked range and the roll out of a cardboard design for Walkers 20-bag multipacks.
The launch forms part of PepsiCo Positive (pep+), Walkers’ parent company’s health and sustainability plan, which includes an ambition in Europe to eliminate virgin fossil-based plastic in crisp and snack bags by 2030.
Gareth Callan, sustainable packaging lead for PepsiCo UK said: “The Sunbites transformation marks our ongoing commitment to offering products that are better for both people and planet. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far to reduce the fossil-based plastic we use and meet growing demand for healthier snacking options without sacrificing taste.
“We’re working hard to reinvent our packaging. To help us do this at scale, we are urging the UK government to recognise the role that chemical recycling and other emerging mechanical technologies could play in creating demand for food-contact flexible plastics – including the modification of the Plastic Packaging Tax to stimulate a circular economy for packaging in the UK.”
Plans to reduce the amount of virgin plastic in Sunbites packaging followed a reformulation of the snack’s recipe to make it non-high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS). The range joins a growing line-up of non-HFSS Walkers products, including 45% Less Salt, Baked, Doritos Dippers and PopWorks.
Last year saw Walkers set a target to make snacks that are non-HFSS or sold in portions of under 100 calories comprise 50% of its sales by 2025. As of December 2023, 30% of the snack brand’s sales now made up of healthier snacks.
Meanwhile, Dawn Meats has saved 885 tonnes of plastic in the last two years as part major plastic reduction plan across its retail packaging.