Corona is piloting a new, circular form of packaging for its six-packs as part of its long-standing dedication to protecting the environment – harnessing surplus barley straw to create a sustainable paper packaging solution.
With this development, Corona becomes the first global brand to leverage technology and processes three years in development by parent company AB InBev’s Global Innovation and Technology Centre (GITEC).
The technology incorporated reimagines how to use barley, giving the essential beer ingredient new life as a sustainable packaging solution.
Barley seed will continue to be used to make the beer. But now, barley straw – a by-product of harvesting – will be put through a unique pulping process built to handle its relative fragility, and then integrated into the six-pack packaging.
Combined with 100 per cent recycled wood fibres, this process creates a paper board to produce new packaging that is as strong and durable as a regular six-pack, but better for the planet – able to carry six cold beer bottles from the store fridge to the consumption point, but using far fewer resources along the way.
According to the technology developers, turning barley straw into paper fibre uses 90 per cent less water in its production than the traditional virgin wood process, along with less energy and fewer harsh chemicals.
Using leftover barley straw is also far more productive than the equivalent area of woodland, and Corona sees this as one path forward to eliminate the need for virgin trees and raw material from their supply chain in the future.
“Corona is a brand born at the beach. We’re deeply connected with nature and appreciate all that it has to offer, so we want to continue to do our part to protect it,” says Felipe Ambra, global vice-president of marketing, Corona.
“Our deep reverence for nature is what inspires our vision to become a sustainability leader in the consumer packaged goods industry, because we want everyone to be able to keep enjoying paradise.
“Starting with our own packaging, we assessed where we could make changes within our production and supply chains to make a real difference. We are proud to announce this first step in reinventing the future of packaging for our industry.”
“We’re excited to finally launch this new packaging innovation we’ve been developing over the past three years,” says Keenan Thompson, director of packaging innovation at AB InBev.
“At AB InBev, we are continually pushing boundaries by developing scalable solutions. Today is a proud moment for us; not only are we providing an opportunity for farmers, but we’re also delivering a more mindful solution to the customer.”
Upon completion of the successful pilot, AB InBev, Corona’s parent company and the leading brewer in the world, will review rolling out the technology to other brands, thereby, increasing the potential positive environmental impact and the ability to influence the whole beverage industry.