General Mills

The Need: FOOD CONTACT PCR: Annie’s 35% Post-Consumer Recycled Content Food Contact Cereal Liner.

By Including recycled content we Drive Demand for recycled plastics which drives municipalities to want to collect materials instead of sending to landfill & this helps to create a circular economy for plastics.  We also used it as an opportunity to educate consumers on the benefits of plastic recycling & PCR.  Any company who successfully navigates the challenges surrounding the use of postconsumer recycled content in film applications deserves credit, and this is no exception. What makes this extraordinary, however, is the prominent marketing message, which broadens consumer engagement in recycling by reminding them that the use of recycled content is enabled by their participation in recycling.

The Solution: FOOD CONTACT PCR: The circular economy is on a roll—and using recycled-content material in packages is one way to ensure U.S. recycling businesses will succeed. But reliable sourcing and quality can be a challenge. Annie’s Cereal contains a film liner is made from 35% recycled plastic. The recycled plastic comes from milk jugs and similar containers recycled through curb side recycling programs. The How-2-Recycle logo on the bottom also highlights how this package is 100% recyclable, with the film being recycled through the store drop off program.

What makes it particularly smart or circular? 1) Food Contact PCR used in commercial product 2) Consumer awareness & education on packaging Annie’s Friends Cereal: 35% Post-Consumer Recycled Content HDPE Cereal Liner & Education Graphic Annie’s Homegrown and supply chain partners Charter Next Generation (CNG) and Envision Plastics worked together to develop a new cereal liner that uses at least 35% postconsumer recycled HDPE and is suitable for direct food contact. The Annie’s Friends cereal box includes special consumer-facing messaging around the use of recycled content. Why it’s important: Any company who successfully navigates the challenges surrounding the use of postconsumer recycled content in film applications deserves credit, and this is no exception. What makes this extraordinary, however, is the prominent marketing message, which broadens consumer engagement in recycling by reminding them that the use of recycled content is enabled by their participation in recycling. Although postconsumer recycled content is widely used in plastic packaging, proud marketing claims are far too rare, and Annie’s deserves credit for giving it the spotlight!

Results, Benefits, and Outcomes to Date: 1) Improvement in Consumer awareness of PCR & recycling, 2) 28,000 lbs. of virgin resin eliminated in 2019, 71,000 lbs. in 2020.

Which of the Pact’s 4 Targets does your work help achieve? 1, 2, 3, and 4

How are you communicating your success? On Pack, APR Demand Champions, SPC Innovator Award, https://recyclemoreplastic.org/buyrecycled

What’s Next? We expanded use of PCR from 1 SKU-Friends to the full portfolio of Annie’s Cereals & are now moving to include it in Cascadian Farms Cereal

Roadblocks & Lessons Learned: 1) FDA Approval of PCR, 2) Supply constraints, 3) Quality of blown film

Core Team, Partners, & Participants: Charter Next Generation (CNG), Envision Plastics

Time Frame: 20+ years. ~2 years from identify reliable clean FDA approved PCR.

Quote: “Bernie, our bunny brand ambassador communicates the benefits of all our delicious foods but it’s great when we can use him to educate our consumers on the benefits of recycling to create our innovative packaging containing recycled content.” – Patrick Keenan, Packaging R&D, General Mills

Company/Organization Information: One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Annie’s, Muir Glen, Yoki, and Blue Buffalo. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2020 global net sales of $17.6 billion. For over 150 years, General Mills has been making food the world loves. And by being a bolder General Mills, we will make consumers’ lives better – and return our company to growth. But we have never believed in growth for growth’s sake. At General Mills, we work to create holistic value throughout our supply chain, from agriculture and operations to our consumers and communities. As of May 30, 2021, we had approximately 35,000 employees around the globe, with approximately 15,000 in the U.S. and approximately 20,000 located in our markets outside of the U.S. Our workforce is divided between approximately 13,000 employees dedicated to the production of our various products and approximately 22,000 non-production employees.   Annie’s Mission: Our mission is to cultivate a healthier and happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the planet.

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