Commercialising new products with a startup – Stora Enso and Sulapac bring the straw to the market

Published 18 February 2020
Together with Sulapac, we have launched the renewable and biodegradable straw to the market. The launch generated significant media coverage globally. A demo straw was launched in 2018 at the startup event Slush. The straw is now rolling out to the market with first availability to companies in Europe.

The first customers include Finnair’s lounges in Helsinki, food delivery platform Wolt, the alcoholic beverage brand company Altia, Hotel St. George in Helsinki, and vegan café Kippo in Helsinki, among others. For end-consumers, the straws will come in retail packaging and be available via Biofutura.com, an online store specialised in compostable tableware and packaging, and an online retailer Verkkokauppa.com in early 2020.

In line with our strategy

Stora Enso’s aim is to replace plastics and other finite materials with renewable solutions. In addition, our long-term strategic target is to reach 15% share of sales from new products and services. We want to be a solutions provider in making our customers eco-friendlier and more circular. The straw helps customers and consumers combat plastic waste, and complements our own extensive biocomposite offering, DuraSense™ by Stora Enso.

Marcus Dehlin, Head of Business Alliances, Consumer Board, is responsible for the cooperation with Sulapac and commercialising the straw.

“The cooperation with Sulapac is a good example of developing products and business offering jointly with an external party, were speed to market is essential. The straw helps us to reach new customers as well as brand owners – opening up the possibility to sell the wider Stora Enso portfolio. Naturally this type of extension also benefits our existing customers”, says Dehlin.

Commercialising the material with a high-interest product

The straws are based on Sulapac’s patent pending material innovation. The main components are renewable materials such as wood and plant-based binders. The material works in existing plastic straw production lines, which makes it an interesting option for plastic straw producers.

But why straw? Even though Sulapac’s material could be used for other applications as well, we anticipated that a straw would be a high-interest product that would offer an impactful way to commercialise the material.

“In many ways the plastic straw has become the poster child of the global plastic waste problem. There was a clear demand on the market for a solution that could replace plastic straws. After preparing the market with the straw we aim to scale the material to other applications as well”, says Marcus Dehlin.