Lightest pizza box in the world

Low weight, great sustainability benefit

24-May-2023 - Finland
olotila productios

Lightest pizza box

A pizza box that is anything but ordinary: that was the goal of Metsä Board, a leading European manufacturer of premium virgin fiber cartonboard and a Metsä Group company. Together with industry experts, the Finnish cartonboard manufacturer developed a food-safe package that uses less material and less ink in the interests of environmental sustainability - without compromising on performance, function or print quality: in other words, a highly functional pizza carton that is likely to be the lightest in the world in this performance class. Metsä Board presented this innovative solution to the global packaging industry at the Interpack trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, May 4-10.

With its advantages, the lightweight pizza board outshines traditional solutions. "Compared to traditional packaging, we have saved around 30 percent in terms of weight and material. To achieve this, we use our fresh fiber grade MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright with a basis weight of just 80 g/m2. Despite its lower weight, the pizza board has the necessary stability thanks to its E-flute structure and the purity required to transport a freshly baked pizza thanks to its production from virgin fiber. All corrugated layers are made from the same material, which also makes production logistics efficient," says Ilkka Harju, Packaging Services Director at Metsä Board, explaining the thinking behind the concept.

The visual design of the pizza carton was created by Futupack, while the production was handled by packaging producer Adara Pakkaus. Metsä Board has already worked successfully with both companies in the past. The cartonboard producer itself contributed the lightweight substrate, which is a particularly good, safe and sustainable solution for food applications. It is a fully bleached, uncoated white kraftliner that is suitable for flexo and offset printing as well as digital inkjet printing. It is available in basis weights from 70 to 160 g/m².

Focus on printing properties

Special focus was placed on the printing properties of the packaging. Dr. Kai Lankinen, researcher and expert in ECG (Expanded Color Gamut) printing, contributed valuable expertise on graphic design, prepress and flexo printing requirements. "Here in Northern Europe, we place great emphasis on producing high-quality products while living in harmony with nature. Working with the Metsä Board team has been inspiring. What is exceptional about this project is that it looks beyond pure material issues to the entire life cycle of the product, with a particular focus on print quality, efficiency and sustainability. With this goal in mind, Metsä Board has brought together professionals from different fields in a joint project. From the very beginning, the development also took into account the possibilities and requirements of flexographic printing. The result is an excellent print result, even though it is an uncoated grade," Dr. Lankinen continues.

Highly innovative use of inks

To show off the material's first-class printing properties, Finnish packaging producer Adara Pakkaus was commissioned to manufacture the corrugated board material and print the board. The company is known for innovation and high quality and was recently awarded a gold medal and a "Best of Show" award at the 2023 FTA Excellence of Flexography Awards in the USA.

In the design of the pizza box, the high-resolution CMYK image was enhanced by a bright green area and striking black lettering, which were implemented using spot color printing. Due to its high whiteness, the board grade used, MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright, allows high-quality CMYK printing. Traditionally, this was not possible and images could only be produced with a few spot colors. Overall, the uncoated surface with its attractive matte look and pleasant feel offers versatile possibilities. The material is suitable for producing a pure white corrugated board solution, as an outer or inner cover, or as fluting. The E-Flute solution guarantees a consistent, good surface for high-contrast process printing applications from the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows with excellent detail reproduction.

Light weight, big sustainability benefit

After the design and production process was completed, Metsä Board's sustainability service conducted a comparison of the innovative pizza board with existing solutions, as well as a detailed environmental impact assessment that considered both material and production. Compared to traditional recycled fiber solutions, the MetsäBoard Natural WKL Bright virgin fiber pizza board achieved up to 38 percent weight reduction and up to 50 percent reduction in carbon footprint. As such, it offers an excellent solution to customers looking for more sustainable alternatives.

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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