Stora Enso has taken another step forward by replacing plastic packaging with an eco-friendly solution and launching a new cardboard packaging box designed for pellets. With this new packaging, Stora Enso plays a pioneering role in the pellets industry and places sustainability, innovation and customer orientation at the centre of its developments.
This goes hand in hand with the company’s vision of creating a sustainable future by using renewable materials. The new premium box format offers clear advantages for households when it comes to transporting and storing the pellets. In addition, cardboard is fully recyclable, in contrast to the market standard plastic bag solution. The focus entry market will be Italy, being the largest pellet heating market in Europe.
Product development: sustainability, innovation & customer orientation take centre stage
Until now, the offer to customers has been limited to pellets sold in 15 kg plastic bags, 500 kg bags and in bulk. “Market tests have shown the exact pain points of pellet stove users. With the insights gained, we have been able to develop a completely new product that meets all the practical needs of households. The pellet box is now available in the smaller size of 12 kg – easier to carry home from the shop, easier to pour into the stove and easier to store at home,” explains Marion LeRoy-Loikala, Pellets Product Manager for Stora Enso. “The new product is therefore sustainable through and through - our renewable heating fuel is now also supplied in packaging that can be reused or simply recycled after use.”
The new product is also a good example of what cross-divisional collaboration can achieve within a global company. In the Packaging Solutions Division, specialists were involved in designing and supplying the new packaging materials for the Wood Products Division, while the fresh, high-quality graphic design of the box was developed by the Finnish branding & design agency Aune Creative.
Two-phase product launch: Italy as key target market
After an extensive pilot testing phase at the Estonian Näpi sawmill, the launch will focus on the Italian market, which is the largest European market for pellets for private households. Further customer feedback will be collected over the next one to two years, after which the product will gradually become available on other European markets as well.
“Our main objectives are to increase our brand awareness and market share in Italy and other relevant household markets, while diversifying our customer base and contributing to the reduction of overall plastics consumption”, says Joachim Colliander, Vice President and Business Director of Stora Enso’s Pellets Business Line. “The European demand for heating pellets as a renewable and sustainable source of energy is forecast to increase steadily by 5 % CAGR in the coming years.” (2018-2023 forecast period)
Why start in Italy? Italy is the leading European country in terms of recycling, with a rate of 77 % of all waste recycled*. 86 % of the Italians are motivated to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in order to preserve the planet and its resources. When it comes to renewable energy sources and low energy consumption, the number is even higher – this is important for 96 % of Italians. Stora Enso is therefore launching its new premium pellet box in a market that will appreciate the material and the sustainability aspect of the packaging equally.