Arla to bring 40 million wood-based packages into supermarkets

Launching more environmentally-friendly packaging in the food industry is a shared goal of Arla, Elopak and UPM

Arla wants to provide consumers with new opportunities to choose more responsible products. This year, Arla has been the first company in Finland to use renewable wood-based bioplastics in gable top paperboard cartons for milk, yoghurt and cooking products. The tall oil-based raw material is a Finnish innovation by UPM.

As a result of the revamp, more than 40 million Arla packages will become more environmentally-friendly in 2019 to reflect consumers’ wishes.

Bioplastic is well suited to dairy product packaging as it has the same technical characteristics as the conventional plastic used in cartons. Like the old material, the new packaging can be recycled with cardboard.

“When we have a liquid product such as milk, a thin plastic film is needed inside the carton for reasons of product safety and shelf life. In our new packaging, the source of plastic is now even more responsible because it is made of wood-based raw material,” says Arla’s Brand & Category Manager, Sanna Heikfolk.

Wood-based bioplastic reduces carbon footprint

UPM’s Lappeenranta biorefinery utilises tall oil that is a residue of pulp production in the raw material for the new bioplastic cartons. The packaging is made by Elopak, and the Dow Chemical Company is also involved in the collaboration. The use of wood-based bioplastics in Arla’s gable top cartons reduces the need for fossil-based plastics by 180,000 kilogrammes per year while also reducing the packaging’s carbon footprint by about a fifth.

Launching more environmentally-friendly packaging in the food industry and for consumers has been a shared goal of Arla, Elopak and UPM. Arla and Elopak have been working together in this field since 2014, and now was the time to take the next step in the packaging development process.

“A conventional milk carton is usually about 85% paperboard. We wanted to launch a type of packaging that would be 100% wood-based and in which the plastic would also be wood based,” says Elopak’s Managing Director, Juha Oksanen.

Finnish innovation from forest to table

With Arla’s new packaging, UPM’s excellent wood-based innovation, UPM BioVerno naphtha, can be used in bioplastics for paperboard packaging. UPM’s innovation has the Key Flag Symbol to prove its Finnish origin.

“We are very pleased to be working with a pioneer such as Arla, with whom we can further reduce the carbon footprint of paperboard packaging for liquids using our renewable raw material, and this applies to the whole chain, up to the consumer. Also, by using wood-based raw materials we are not competing for raw materials with the food production industry, because tall oil is a residue of pulp production,” says Sari Mannonen, Vice President at UPM Biofuels.

Arla is continuously working on developing more responsible packaging solutions. In addition to the gable top packaging, Arla is also renewing its 150-gram Luonto+ yoghurt packaging by replacing the plastic pots and lids with paperboard. As a result, consumers will be able to recycle all parts of the new packaging in their cardboard collection.


Sanna Heikfolk
Brand & Category Manager, Arla Oy
Phone: +358 50 313 8916

Sari Mannonen
Vice President, UPM Biofuels.
Phone: +358 45 265 1345

Juha Oksanen
Managing Director, Elopak Oy
Phone: +358 40 572 7766


About Arla

Arla Oy is a local trendsetter in the dairy industry and part of Arla Foods, owned by dairy farmers. Our 550 Finnish dairy farmers are located throughout Finland. We are a fair and reliable partner for both our farmers and customers. We offer natural flavours from Finland and the world for every moment of the day.

About UPM

UPM Biofuels produces renewable and sustainable products for the transport and petrochemicals industries. We offer our customers ways to replace fossil raw materials and reduce their carbon footprint. UPM’s innovative, bio-based products are frontrunners in quality, usability and sustainability.

We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. We employ around 19,000 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 10.5 billion.


Arla Foods, press release, 2019-02-05.


Arla Foods
Dow Chemical Company
UPM Biofuels
UPM Corporation


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