Mars bars has ditched its familiar plastic wrappers and replaced them with paper ones in a new trial taking place in Tesco stores.
Mars is currently looking at ways to reduce plastic and is exploring different types of packaging and how well these will work in real life.
Currently, Mars bar wrappers cannot be recycled.
Results from the limited-time trial will be used to help the company make decisions about its packaging for future trials.
Richard Sutherland-Moore, a packaging expert at Mars Wrigley UK’s research and development centre in Slough, said: “For Mars bar, the challenge was to find the right paper packaging solution with an adequate level of barrier properties to protect the chocolate whilst guaranteeing the food safety, quality and integrity of the product to prevent food waste.”
The move is part of the company’s Sustainable in a Generation Plan. The plan sees Mars investing hundreds of millions of pounds to ensure it meets its goal of reducing use of virgin plastics by a third in the short-term, which includes using less plastic, recycled plastic and plastic alternatives.
Adam Grant, General Manager at Mars Wrigley UK, said: “With our Mars bar pilot project, we are taking a big step to see how paper-based packaging works in everyday life. From the test, we will derive insights for our sustainable packaging strategy.
“While challenges may impact the pace of progress towards our vision, we at Mars Incorporated are committed to scaling up viable solutions where recycling options exist, and to test, learn, partner and advocate where they don’t.”
The move also comes after the company achieved carbon neutrality for the first time in its history this year, achieved through carbon credits and carbon emission reductions.
Andrew Flood, Tesco Packaging Development Manager, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Mars Wrigley to trial an alternative version of their iconic Mars bar packaging – aligning to our own strategy of removing plastic and packaging in our business where we can, reducing it where we can’t, reusing more and recycling what’s left.”
Cheryl Allen is the head of sustainability at Nestlé confectionery, and says it wasn't an easy decision to make, but the firm thinks customers will like what it's done.
She said: "Quality Street is a brand that people feel very strongly about.
"We know that opening the lid and seeing 'the jewels', as we call them, is really important.
"We think we’ve done a really good job with the redesign, and feel confident that people will respond positively."