Diageo’s paper-based bottle trial for Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur

90% paper with a thin plastic liner and a foil seal

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Diageo
The bottle is designed for recycling in standard paper streams and does not require the consumer to separate the plastic liner from the paper bottle when disposing. The 2,000-bottle trial with consumers was on Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liqueur, mini format (80ml) at Time Out Festival in Barcelona, Spain, from 25 – 26 May.

Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, Don Julio Tequila and Guinness has announced new plans to trial paper-based packaging for Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liqueur. In partnership with PA Consulting, as part of the Bottle Collective with PA and PulPac, Diageo is trialling a Dry Molded Fiber bottle which is 90% paper, with a thin plastic liner and a foil seal, the comoany said in a press release on its website.

The bottle is designed for recycling in standard paper streams and does not require the consumer to separate the plastic liner from the paper bottle when disposing. The 2,000-bottle trial with consumers was on Baileys, the Original Irish Cream Liqueur, mini format (80ml) at Time Out Festival in Barcelona, Spain, from 25 – 26 May.

This is Diageo’s first consumer facing trial with paper-based bottles and will test how the bottles travel from the filling site in Ireland, to Barcelona, along with how consumers interact with the material, and how they understand the sustainability credentials of the paper bottle.

Ewan Andrew, president, Global Supply Chain & Procurement and Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo commented, “When it comes to our packaging, we’re taking an approach of progress over perfection, knowing our packaging will need to evolve along with consumer needs and technological advancements. The consumer is becoming more sustainability savvy and we believe we can meet that need using our design and innovation to bring premium products and more sustainable solutions together.”

When it comes to beverages, 68% of consumers want to buy more sustainably but only 12% do due to barriers including expense, lack of availability, and confusion about what is on offer. Diageo is working to close this ‘say-do’ gap for consumers by developing more sustainable and desirable products through innovation and marketing propositions to help consumers understand the sustainability credentials of the products, including the materials used.

To support this, Diageo has developed and rolled out frameworks across the organization, including an environmental CLAIMS checklist, based on the CMA guidelines, and LCA assessment tools, ensuring that science, substantiation and creativity are used to communicate clearly to consumers.

Jamie Stone, design and innovation expert at PA, said, “We are delighted that the Diageo Baileys Minis are now hitting the consumer market. Dry molded fiber bottles are a huge step forward, setting new standards in the world of more sustainable packaging. But this is only the beginning. PulPac’s dry molded fiber technology has immense potential: not only is it water-saving, energy-efficient and recyclable, but it is also viable at commercial manufacturing speeds and scale. Working with Diageo and other organizations through our Bottle and Blister Pack Collectives has enabled us to pool resources and dramatically accelerate the time to market for this important innovation.”

Diageo is exploring paper formats across its wider portfolio. The company remains a committed member of the Pulpex consortium and continues to develop and internally test its concept Johnnie Walker paper-based bottle, which is still in development phase, along with other paper-based bottle concepts.

Alongside this, Diageo is developing a Diageo-designed, spiral-wound paper-based bottle with Don Papa, the super-premium Filipino rum brand. The bottle is in feasibility testing and is expected to be 90% paper-based. The bottle is designed to remove the cardboard gift box around the bottle to give the illusion of a gift box which is in fact the whole bottle. This follows Diageo’s announcement in 2022 to start a program to remove the cardboard gift boxes in its premium scotch portfolio to reduce excess packaging and is being rolled out in a phased approach over the coming years.

Diageo is also looking at other packaging formats to address its sustainability goals. Through Diageo Sustainable Solutions, Diageo is trialing lightweighting its glass bottles using a novel coating developed by EXXERGY. Following a successful first stage, Diageo has invested in the second round of lab testing and will work with supply chain partners Ardagh and Dassualt Systemes to complete this.

In March, Diageo announced the trial of 30,000 bottles of Baileys in an aluminium format across selected airports in Europe (Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Frankfurt), with an anticipated 44% reduction in carbon versus the current glass bottle.

The trials of the new packaging formats support Diageo’s wider 10-year ESG action plan ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’. Diageo’s packaging contributes one third to its total Scope 3 carbon footprint and the innovative new options contribute towards reducing this.

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