Straw revolution: Nestle Malaysia and Indonesia roll out paper straws for UHT drinks

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle Malaysia and Indonesia have opted to exchange the commonly-used plastic straws attached to UHT packaged drinks for paper options for some of its most-popular products, assuring consumers that this option is both ‘effective’ and ‘scalable’. ©Getty Images
Nestle Malaysia and Indonesia have opted to exchange the commonly-used plastic straws attached to UHT packaged drinks for paper options for some of its most-popular products, assuring consumers that this option is both ‘effective’ and ‘scalable’. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Nestlé, Malaysia, Indonesia, straws

Nestle Malaysia and Indonesia have opted to exchange the commonly-used plastic straws attached to UHT packaged drinks for paper options for some of its most-popular products, assuring consumers that this option is both ‘effective’ and ‘scalable’.

In Malaysia, the first product SKU that will see this being implemented as a pilot project is Nestle Malaysia’s Milo UHT 125ml packs, estimated to roll out this December.

“It was not a simple process. Being the first food and beverage manufacturer in Malaysia to implement this solution, there were no prior examples to refer to,”​ Nestle Malaysia Executive Director of Group Corporate Affairs Nirmalah Thurai told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“This decision was made after careful deliberation and was only decided upon after ensuring that these paper straws are able to meet our strict requirements.

“We also had to identify suppliers who were capable of meeting our rigorous standards at the quantities required for high volume production.”

Responding to queries on the reason behind opting for paper straws despite these being known for fast dissolving times and short lifespans, she emphasised that quality and safety were the main concerns when considering this option.

“[We have] worked hard to roll out a solution that is not only effective and scalable, but most importantly, one that meets Nestlé’s stringent product quality standards for the safety of consumers,” ​said Thurai.

“A key priority was to ensure that the alternative straws are made from high quality material that fits packaging specifications and remain sturdy when used without posing any safety risks.”

Although she remained coy on the specific lifespans of the straw, she told us that the company had conducted consumer research on the prototypes in order to ‘ensure that the paper straw is sufficiently sturdy to serve its purpose for the average duration required to consume the product’​.

The successful implementation of this packaging innovation is expected to cut down the use of plastic straws by some 40 million a year.

Over in Indonesia, this will be implemented along roughly the same timeline as in Malaysia for the Nescafe ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages Lively Yuzu and Cool Coconut.

“As a pilot initiative, the first Nescafe Lively Yuzu and Cool Coconut with paper straws will be available at Alfamart and Indomaret in the Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi) area,”​ said Nestle Indonesia President Director Dharnesh Gordhon.

Moving forward

Moving forward, the plan for Nestle Indonesia is to concentrate on RTD products for this project.

“We are planning to roll out this packaging solution for other ready-to-drink products in phases progressively with the ultimate objective of eliminating 450 million plastic straws by full roll-out,”​ said Gordhon.

On the other hand, Nestle Malaysia will continue to concentrate on Milo UHT for this for the time being.

“Following this pilot initiative, we plan to roll this packaging solution to the other MILO UHT variants in phases progressively with the ultimate objective of eliminating over 200 million plastic straws a year,”​ Thurai said.

All in all, this initiative looks to be part of Nestlé’s global pledge to make all of its packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025.

“Currently, two thirds of Nestlé Malaysia’s total plastic packaging is designed for recycling, while over 85% of our total packaging is recyclable,”​ she added.

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