Mars bars pilot paper wrapper

Mars is looking to ditch plastic for its iconic packaging
Mars is looking to ditch plastic for its iconic packaging

Mars Wrigley has introduced paper-based packaging in a limited trial for its classic Mars bar.

The paper-based wrapper, to be trialled at Tesco stores in the UK, will result in a significant reduction in the amount of plastic used for each Mars bar, according to the confectionary giant.

Richard Sutherland-Moore, packaging expert at Mars Wrigley’s Slough R&D centre, said: “We are exploring different types of alternative packaging solutions for our confectionery products. 

“For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality and integrity of the product to prevent food waste.” 

Data from the trial will inform other efforts underway at Mars to shift its packaging to a circular economy model; according to Mars Wrigley, almost half of its packaging portfolio is currently undergoing redesign or elimination.

Adam Grant, Mars Wrigley UK’s general manager, said the test would provide valuable insight for how paper-based packaging performs in daily life.

He added: “While challenges may impact the pace of progress towards our vision, we at Mars Incorporated are committed to scaling up viable solutions where recycling options exist and to test, learn, partner and advocate where they don’t.” 

Absolut Vodka has likewise launched a three-month trial for a single-mould paper bottle at Tesco.

The bottle will be piloted in Manchester, where local government’s recycling scheme can handle the 57% paper bottle and recyclable plastic liner.

Plastic packaging waste is set to grow by 46%, according to research by the European Commission, with packaging currently accounting for 40% of all plastic use in the EU.

Delegates from 169 of the UN’s 193 member states met in Paris in early July for the second negotiating session for an intergovernmental treaty on cutting plastic pollution, with an informal draft resolution expected in November 2023.