Cabot Announces Transition to Sustainable Packaging for 8oz Bars

Cabot Announces Transition to Sustainable Packaging for 8oz Bars

Major grant funds Cabot’s sustainable packaging research, with findings to be shared with the broader dairy industry. 

Waitsfield, VT – June 26, 2024 – Agri-Mark, Inc./Cabot Creamery Cooperative announced today that it will transition to a 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) packaging for its flagship 8-ounce cheese bars later this year. This decision follows the completion of a comprehensive sustainable packaging study initiated in 2022 and will result in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel requirements by up to 25%, alongside significant water savings during manufacturing of their 8-oz bar line. Study findings will be made available industry-wide with hopes of broadening the positive impact of the grant research.

“This is a pivotal moment in our journey to become a greener company, introducing one of the first cheeses in a post-consumer-recycled package,” said CEO David Lynn. “As the first dairy cooperative to achieve B-Corp status, we have a long-held commitment to sustainable practices and this shift to PCR packaging in our 8-ounce bar line represents a major milestone in that commitment.”

The sustainable packaging study began in late 2022 after Cabot received a $323,875 grant from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC). “We saw this as a real opportunity within the food industry to be a leader,” said Jed Davis, VP of Strategic Engagement & Sustainability. “We want our award-winning dairy products, including our eight-ounce bars of cheese, to be packaged safely and sustainably.”

“NE-DBIC is committed to the growth and modernization of our region's dairy sector, investing in research and development projects that have the potential to propel innovation at all scales. Through rigorous trials and their commitment to commercializing alternatives to virgin plastic, Cabot has demonstrated what is possible for the dairy industry to innovate in meaningful ways,” said Kathryn Donovan, Regional Programs Manager, NE-DBIC. “Through this project, Cabot has developed pathways for other dairy processors to follow suit, allowing the industry new opportunities to reduce their environmental impact while responding to consumer values.”

Cabot partnered with TC Transcontinental Packaging, a leader in flexible packaging manufacturing, to conduct a shelf-life and feasibility study. They completed line trials using three innovative packaging options: a 30% PCR content package, a compostable structure suitable for industrial composters, and a fully recyclable flexible film.

The trials included rigorous testing stages to ensure packaging performance, including assessing integrity during transport, texture, flavor, and color differences. Cabot simultaneously conducted consumer studies to gauge perspectives on alternative packaging and ensure consistent cheese quality, flavor, appearance, and nutrition. These studies were crucial for determining the long-term viability of each film type.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find solutions that were readily available that did not compromise throughput or quality, and required minimal operational adjustment,” said Jason Martin, Sr. VP, Operations. Specifically, the PCR package performed seamlessly on the production line, and the grant team confirmed that it maintained Cabot’s high standards for cheese quality, shelf-life, and sensory experience.

Armed with the study results, Cabot’s leadership team decided to make the transition to the PCR film for their eight-ounce dairy bars. The shift will be gradual as the cooperative works through existing packaging supplies. Consumers can expect to see the new packaging in stores by the end of this year.

“Sustainability continues to be important to our consumers and our cooperative. We have the opportunity to do something special, and that's to be among the first cheese brands to incorporate PCR into their packaging,” noted Sarah Healy, SVP, Marketing.

For more information about Cabot’s findings, visit Cabot Creamery Sustainable Packaging.

Cabot Creamery is a farmer-owned cooperative and certified B-Corp that has been making award-winning products with love, pride and purpose for over a century. The high-quality milk produced by the Cabot farm families throughout New England and New York is crafted into dairy products including, “The World’s Best Cheddar”, other styles of cheese, butter, Greek yogurt, sour cream, dips and other specialty products. For more information visit cabotcreamery.com.

 

MEDIA CONTACT:  Elizabeth Davis   802-598-715   edavis@boardmandavis.com

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