Vegan Chocolate with Fewer Ingredients and Less Packaging
2/14/2024 New Creations Machinery Change Innovative Processes Interview

Vegan Chocolate with Fewer Ingredients and Less Packaging

Leipzig-based start-up The Nu Company with its nucao brand wants to be a pioneer for vegan and sustainable chocolate products. In this interview, Sustainable Packaging Specialist Mathias Schwarz talks about the conversion of its packaging and what will soon be coming onto the market.

Nucao chocolate bar crisp & crunch. Vegan and sustainable: Nucao is currently converting its packaging to paper.

Nucao wanted to switch its packaging to paper in 2023. Have you converted all your packaging in the meantime?

In spring 2024, we will have converted the entire range. All “nucao fruits” and “nucao nuts” chocolate products have already been packaged in paper since 2022. Our five chocolate bars are now also in paper packaging, and our new chocolate bars will also be available in paper packaging starting in April.

Until now, nucao’s packaging was home-compostable. Do you still use this type of packaging?

Our Christmas seasonal item, the chocolate penguin Snowy, is still partly wrapped in home-compostable film and in a cardboard folding box. We are currently looking for the optimal type of paper packaging. There are many challenges to this, for example on the machine side or in terms of logistics.

Nucao has many single-serving packs in its portfolio that are available in stores. Isn’t packaging containing several bars more sustainable?

Multi-portion packaging can certainly be more sustainable if it is resealable, for example. We don’t currently have any resealable packaging in our range. Consumers would, therefore, have to be prepared to pay the price for the multiple quantity of products on the one hand and to consume several chocolate products relatively quickly on the other. Because as soon as the product is left open for longer, the quality could suffer.

Please explain the “Clean Label” concept to us. What are its advantages and disadvantages?

The core of our brand is to offer our customers natural products that are as unprocessed as possible and satisfy their needs for ecological and social sustainability as well as their desire for a conscious diet. We focus on a short list of ingredients for our products and deliberately avoid all types of artificial additives or flavor enhancers. There are no disadvantages for our products. They are securely packaged in our innovative paper packaging and remain unchangeably tasty for the entire duration of the best-before date.

The trend in confectionery is generally towards healthy and sustainable snacking with natural ingredients, no additives, and little sugar.

What else do you have planned in terms of packaging?

In April, we will be launching four chocolate bars in 100 percent paper packaging. This makes us a real innovation leader. We are also always looking at how we can make our packaging even more sustainable, for example by reducing the amount of material used.

The Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry is currently extremely concerned that the EU’s plans for the future design of packaging could mean the end of popular seasonal confectionery such as the chocolate Easter bunny with decorations such as bows, scarves, or hats. Do you share these concerns?

The regulation does not affect us directly. Packaging has the following basic functions: product protection, convenience properties, as well as information and labeling. In addition, packaging is clearly also a sign of brand identity and branding and should appeal to customers in terms of design. As we are strongly committed to the fight against plastic waste, we think it is good if unnecessary packaging material is generally reduced.

Nucao has been using paper as the primary packaging for its chocolate products “nucao fruits” and “nucao nuts” since the end of 2022. The flexible packaging paper Koehler NexPlus Advanced by Koehler Paper has an excellent oxygen, mineral oil, and grease barrier, which is necessary for direct contact with chocolate and nuts.

Koehler Paper SE is one of the exhibitors at FACHPACK 2024: