Innovation

Gianmaria Pavan Head of Business Line Beverage Ahlstrom-Munksjö

Your role at Ahlstrom-Munksjö?

I joined Ahlstrom-Munksjö with one goal in mind: making Ahlstrom-Munksjö more and more prominent in the coffee packaging world. Our aim is to be recognized as a global leader in filtering and packaging solutions for the coffee market.

To achieve that result we can now count on a renewed product portfolio, strong partnerships with the leading coffee roasters and packaging manufacturers, our constant presence within the main trade shows and coffee associations.

My role is to ensure that all these tactical steps and leverage help us effectively to accomplish our strategy.

The coffee team

Working on a global scale for the coffee market represents a challenge that can only be accomplished thanks to a strong team effort.
Each market has its own specific needs and difficulties that in certain cases can be solved at a central level, in other cases they need a local workforce focused on customization.

New development is mostly done in our Research Center in France, where our knowledgeable R&D team is equipped with the state of the art instruments to ensure the continuous improvement of our products.

In addition, we have technical service teams in our plants, spread across different continents that can work closely with customers to ensure that our solutions fit their needs.

What are our main capabilities in terms of innovation?

We are a global company acting in several filtration and packaging businesses: our paper solutions are used in automotive applications, medical equipment, cooking and food containers…and the best ideas come from the combination of these different worlds.

Our teams are in constant dialog together and that provides us continuous inspiration for new products. We also hold several innovation sessions every year with our partners where we discuss emerging needs, challenges and new technologies available in the market. People are the starting point for the innovation and everyone at Ahlstrom-Munksjö has the opportunity to express their ideas.

In terms of infrastructure capabilities our plants evolve continuously to follow or even anticipate new needs.

As an example, some years ago we were the only one investing in solutions and capabilities to make compostable filter solutions for tea and coffee applications. Nowadays this is one of mainstream trends due to the environmental concerns related to the single-serve systems.

What are the trends you see in the future of single serve coffee especially?

End-users are more and more concerned about the environmental impact of single-serve coffee solutions.

Even though packaging has a small contribution compared to the different elements of the whole coffee value chain, these capsules and bags represent thousands of tons of material that goes into our landfills and that is less and less tolerable.

There is a renewed interest in the sustainability of the whole coffee chain, from the farmer to to the final packaging choice.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö share this vision in its core values and we contribute to reduce this waste thanks to compostable solutions that combine high performance with a reduced footprint.

In addition to this general trend, the US coffee market has some distinctive aspects compared to the European ones.

While the research of the perfect espresso and its crema is a must in this latter one, US drinkers are looking more to flavored beverages and a higher quantity of coffee.

We are ready to face new challenges linked to the next generation of filters: whether it is new shapes, format, pressure or quantity of coffee.

Sustainability

WHY WE ARE DOING THIS

3 grams is the average waste generated by a used single serve coffee capsule…a few grams that become thousands of tons when we take into account the billions of coffee pods consumed every year. Among the different ways to prepare a cup of coffee, the single serve capsules system has a very fast adoption rate and consumers are increasingly aware about its the environmental cost. This awareness is pushing the main coffee companies to rethink the whole value chain in terms of sustainability.

In this instance we think of sustainable products as products that are designed with their end of life in mind. Reducing the waste is one of the challenges that Ahlstrom-Munksjö targeted in developing its new coffee filter solutions.

 

WE LOOK AT RECYCLING AS A STEP FORWARD AND COMPOSTING AS A SOLUTION

Capsules and filters that decompose after their utilization in order to feed our planet, not pollute it.

That is why we started extensive research to create a media capable of enhancing the pure coffee aroma and at the same time being compostable after its utilization.

WHAT IS PLA?

PLA is a biopolymer derived completely from the sugars extracted from annually grown plants such as corn (maize). While the monomer precursor to PLA is currently extracted exclusively from corn, it can also be extracted from any starch-bearing agricultural products, including agricultural wastes and non-food plants.

 

* no significant difference between PLA infused hot water and plain hot water by the panel of testers

WHAT IS ABACA?

Abaca, an important renewable and sustainable crop

  • Type: Banana shaped plant
  • Maturity: 18 – 24 months
  • Harvest: 3 times /yr
  • Fiber Yield: 600 – 1300 kg/ha
  • Fiber Length: 1.5 – 3.0 meters
  • Sources: Philippines
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is committed to sustainable sourcing of all raw materials including abaca and helping ensure it continues to support the livelihood of thousands of local farmers.
  • Ahlstrom-Munksjö is providing financial support to advance sustainability certification of abaca against the SAN standard in the Philippines
  • Ahlstrom-Munksjö is actively working with EDANA (European Disposables and Nonwovens Association) to bring together industry activity to support abaca farmers in conjunction with FIDA (Fiber Industry Development Authority) in the Philippines
  • Ahlstrom-Munksjö will continue to create a reliable, continuous and sustainable supply of abaca raw material for beverages