Our packaging: Natural wrapping for a natural chewing gum
Since it is not only the inner values that count, we pay as much attention to sustainability in the packaging of our natural chewing gums as we do when choosing the ingredients.
Conventional chewing gums are not only largely made of plastic, they are also packed in plastic and aluminium. These raw materials are neither renewable nor degradable and thus pollute our planet.
When we had the idea of a natural chewing gum, it was clear to us that we wanted to do things differently. The chewing gum should be packaged in cardboard and the raw materials for it should come from the region, if possible. So we started looking for a packaging manufacturer.
In the beginning we were alone and without a box for our Alpengummi. We only received refusals from large companies, because our first required quantity was too small or we were simply too insignificant (“No, we don’t know yet where and how much we will sell”, “No, we can’t tell you a fixed monthly purchase quantity”, “NO, we don’t have a product sample of the packaging yet, that’s exactly why we have contacted you …”).
After an exhausting search we finally found a good-natured and motivated employee of an Austrian packaging company (Gradwohl in Melk), who supported us from the beginning and met with us almost weekly to develop a packaging step by step together with us.
Alpengummi forest mint in pine needles © Natalia Garcez
In order to ensure that only wood from sustainable forestry is used for our cardboard, we have opted for PEFC-certified cardboard - the PEFC seal assures consumers that the wood resources processed come from forests that are managed in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.
Since short transport distances are essential for environmental protection, we obtain our packaging from the above mentioned packaging manufacturer in Lower Austria and have the gluing done by a non-profit organization in Vienna. We are pleased that we can give a valuable task to people with disabilities and mental illnesses :-)
Often only the hands may be of help
Although our business has got off to a good start and we are generally satisfied with the turnover of the first year, our quantities are still not yet at the level that is required to be able to automate all steps: Machine filling of the chewing gums into our packs is not possible at present, as many fillers only start from a few million pieces. Simply changing the machine to our box size would be more expensive than doing everything by hand. And since these fillers usually also do the gluing of the pack, these two steps are still done by hand.
And since the majority of the product is still manufactured by hand, this inevitably results in higher prices, which are of course also reflected in the final price of our chewing gum.
Manual gluing in the workshop © Bergfalke GmbH
Cooperation with research institution
We are always in the process of optimizing our packaging. Fortunately, this year we have been awarded the FFG Innovation Cheque. In this context the FH Campus Wien is now researching an optimal packaging solution for our chewing gum. An important question in this sense is the shelf life of the chewing gum, which is currently around 4 months. We hope to be able to extend the shelf life by changing the recipe and the packaging. As soon as we have the first results - and know more about bioplastics, life cycle assessment, etc. - we will share them with you!
Clothes shape the people, design shapes the packaging
Sahar paints our design with watercolours © Sahar Heumesser
The search for a good graphic designer turned out to be equally difficult. In the end, we found her by chance in our coworking space Impacthub: Natalia Garcez, a freelancer from Brazil, created a design for us that we are completely satisfied with. The watercolour drawings for our flavours were created by Sahar Heumesser.
And again it shows: When you meet the right people, the biggest obstacles become manageable. We would therefore like to thank all our partners once again, and all the great people who have supported us on our way and continue to do so!