Sustainable pioneers: Wholly Moly! hopes to shape eco-friendly shift in China with lightweight packaging for oat drinks
Wholly Moly! is a subsidiary of Yum Delight, headquartered in US. Its oat-based products ranging from oats, oat bran to oat bran drink are available in China and US through D2C e-retail and supermarkets.
According to Claire Fang, founder of Wholly Moly!: “China is producing way too much waste during this era of consumption upgrade, I’m hoping more brands can ride on the trend of eco-friendliness.
“Wholly Moly is a very environmental conscious and responsible brand. We want to be the pioneer in the food and beverage field to lead younger generation of Chinese consumers toward more eco-friendly choices.”
She told FoodNavigator-Asia: “We have seen this trend only start to develop among very small portion of the population, for instance in the well-educated or overseas returnees of the younger generation. Even among the younger generation, this is not a big trend yet. We are hoping to help shape that transition faster.”
The firm has partnered with Ecolean, a global packaging company to package its oat bran drinks in Ecolean’s Air Aseptic 125ml packaging.
The oat bran drinks have since sold almost half a million units, according to Fang.
Fang said she chose to work with Ecolean after a recommendation by its contract manufacturer.
“We have seen some yogurt products in the market using Ecolean but we wouldn’t have looked into details if it wasn’t because of the recommendation.”
She explained the firm was looking for an eco-friendly yet flexible packaging for its beverage.
Reduce resources and reduce food waste
The packaging weighs only five grams. A lightweight packaging means lesser environmental impact, not only for its minimal use of raw materials, but also lesser energy and water in production, lighter packaging during transportation, and eventually disposal.
The packaging for Wholly Moly! was designed with “(a) unique shape with a distinctive air-filled handle and large printing surface (which) intuitively appeals to the eyes of the consumer on the store shelf,” Johnny Sajland, chief commercial officer at Ecolean Group said.
“Our packages are designed to allow the user to easily squeeze out every last drop, no matter how viscous a product is,” this also helps reduce food waste.
The flexible aluminum-free Ecolean packages are made from polyolefins and 35% chalk. Chalk is a natural mineral with low climate impact, which gives the lightweight package its strength, stiffness and a smooth white surface.
Fang said: “Functionality wise, it works very well with our product requirement. Also, it has a lower minimum order quantity (MOQ) compared to traditional products so it’s also great for new product line to test out the market.”
Ecolean is headquartered in Sweden, and develops and manufactures packaging mostly for the liquid dairy, beverage and food industry. China, Pakistan, Russia and Europe are its biggest markets.
According to Sajland, the demand for lightweight packages with minimal environmental impact for liquid food is increasing.
Last year, Yakult South Korea launched an RTD vegetable soup and a tea product in Ecolean Air Aspectic packaging. It was Yakult’s first aseptic beverage in Korean.
In South Korea, Coco Bruni (cold brew coffee), Busanmilk (orange and grape juice) and Pulmuone also utilised Ecolean’s packaging.
Recently, South Korea’s Ministry of Environment recognised the recyclability of Ecolean’s aseptic packages as ‘good’ in a four-grade scale, to determine how easily packages can be recycled.
In Europe, Ecolean’s lightweight packaging solutions have become part of HelloFresh’s meal kits.
Sajland added: “We have a solid partnership with Coca-Cola in Russia, packing their still drinks under the brand of Moya Semya/My Family. In Pakistan, which is one of our largest markets, we collaborate with Olper’s, which is part of FrieslandCampina.”
For Wholly Moly!, Fang said: “We will continue to develop and roll out more whole grain and oats products for our consumers, (and) we want to continue to consider Ecolean packaging whenever it fits.”