The non-adhesion technology has been developed in partnership with, and is currently being used by its own-brand products and Japanese yoghurt brand Meiji Bulgaria.
One year to develop the technology
Kumiko Kasuya, manager, customer service department, Morinaga Milk, told FoodProductionDaily the technology has now sparked interest with other dairy producers in the country.
“We developed the technology after our customers told us they were facing a number of problems with their yoghurt, namely when they opened a pot, the product would stick to the lid and onto their hands. They also said when they finished eating the yoghurt they had to wash the lid before throwing it away,” said Kusuya.
“The packaging took us about a year to develop because it was difficult to repel the yoghurt and still keep the sealability.”
The structure of the material's surface has been adapted and inspired by the lotus leaf, which is known for repelling water and staying dry and clean.
Kusuya said the company decided to partner with Toyo Aluminium because it has worked with them before.
Morinaga Aloe Yoghurt
It first trialled the technology on its own brand Morinaga Aloe Yoghurt as part of a seasonal product.
It has since extended the technology onto several of its other brands including; Morinaga Bifidus BB536; Korede Furuits 10 Shurui yoghurt; Kokuga Oishii Seinyuuno and Lactoferrin.
“The innermost part of the lid is rough at a micro-level, so that even if some yoghurt sticks to the lid, it would fall off immediately,” added Kusuya.
“We are the first ones to invent this type of lid in Japan, as a four piece yoghurt.
“We took the lotus leaf as inspiration because its surface is rough, and because of that, water drops off the leaf immediately.”
The packaging material with water-repellency effect may vary depending upon the viscosity of the contents.
Morinaga Milk said the technology has been approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare notification number 370 (specifications and standards for food, food additives); the Ministry of Health and Welfare Ordinance No.52 (Ministerial ordinance on milk and milk products concerning compositional standards); and Japan Hygienic Olefin and Styrene Plastics Association Voluntary Standards.
“By solving the problem of the attachment of the contents, there is also improved ease of handling of the packaging materials when opening or disposing of them and reduction in the volume of waste,” said Kusuya.