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These packagings protect our products 


As environmentally-friendly and food-safe as possible 
At Rapunzel, we care a lot about the environment. This is manifested in the way we deal with our food products and their packagings. Coming up with the right packaging is, however, a balancing act between the best-possible protection for our high-quality organic products and the best environmentally-friendly packaging solution.  

Rapunzel has been working intensively for a long period of time to make packagings more sustainable. Colleagues from different disciplines and packaging manufacturers continuously test and develop new, environmentally-friendly packaging materials.   

Some successful solutions are visible at first sight (e.g. conversion of our rice products to paper packagings and our unpackaged portfolio), others only at second glance (e.g. use of thinner plastic foils, use of bio films or the conversion to PVC-free lids).

For other packaging materials, the question of (supposed) success is very difficult to answer - we will give you the background story on the different materials that we use. 
 
By the way: the photograph of this page shows "unpackaged" Rapunzel employees from different departments with products from our package-free portfolio. 

Packaging material 2018

Distribution of packaging materials by weight
 
The high proportion of glass is due to the high weight of glass and the extensive usage of glass in the Rapunzel portfolio (e.g. for nut butters and vegetable oils).
The high proportion of glass is due to the high weight of glass and the extensive usage of glass in the Rapunzel portfolio (e.g. for nut butters and vegetable oils).

How our packagings must perform 


Packagings protect products and preserve their quality. They provide room for important information about the product and should be trouble-free for the use in packaging machines. Packagings let products survive their transport undamaged and are important for an unproblematic storage. Both the visual appearance and the handling must be pleasant: how easy is it to open the packaging? Can the packaging be reclosed? 

Environmental aspects are also important: packagings should be environmentally-friendly, resource-friendly and recyclable and the packaging materials should be readily available.   

Learn more about the different packaging materials

Glass

Due to the high proportion of glassware in the Rapunzel portfolio and the fact that glass has a much higher weight than other packaging materials such as plastic films, the glass packagings make up 84 percent of all packagings at Rapunzel. 80 percent of the Rapunzel glassware is recycled glass. The advantages of glass are its reusability, the excellent protection it gives against outer influences and that it gives products a good visibility. 

Since the production of glass is energy-consuming we always try to make the glass production as efficient as possible. All glass packagings that are individually manufactured for Rapunzel are therefore produced with only the absolutely necessary amounts of resources.

Frequently asked questions about glass


Why does Rapunzel have no deposit system for glass packagings? In the 1990s, Rapunzel and other organic manufacturers did have a glass deposit system for health food stores. The deposit system resulted in many heavily soiled glasses and very high operating costs for the glass cleaning. But the main reason why the deposit system was abandoned again, had to do with the realization that deposit and reuse systems work ecologically only at the regional level. It is rather environmentally-harmful to transport dirty glass jars from Northern Germany to the Allgäu for cleaning and to transport these glasses in the next step to Italy where they are refilled with a local product such as tomato sauce before they are sold again in a natural health food store somewhere in Germany.


Which kind of glue is used for the labels? For our nut butter glasses that are labelled with wet glue labels, we use adhesives on a casein basis. Casein adhesives are water-based glues that can be removed without leaving any residues and that prevents damage to filling plants. For other products such as legumes in cans, we use synthetic glues. 

Metal lids


PVC-freie und weichmacherfreie Deckel mit weißem oder blauem Dichtungsring auf Rapunzel Gläsern
PVC-freie und weichmacherfreie Deckel mit weißem oder blauem Dichtungsring auf Rapunzel Gläsern

The different components of a lid


Metal lids are a complex packaging system. The lids are made of metal and they have an inner coating. A sealing ring that is also referred to as 'compound' ensures that the lid seals tightly. For pollution-free lids, both the coating and the compound type are important.  

PVC-free lids


Rapunzel uses only PVC-free lids for all products that are manufactured and filled at Rapunzel headquarters. Best-known are the lids with blue PVC-free and plasticizer-free sealing rings. Other lid manufacturers use white-colored PVC- and plasticizer-free sealing rings. We guarantee that both the white and the blue sealing rings contain no PVC and no plasticizers. 

BPA-free cans and lids


The controversial bisphenol A (BPA) compound was also banned from Rapunzel products. Together with our suppliers we managed to convert all lids for screw-cap glasses to the new BPA-NI (NI = non intend) varnish. 

The internal coating of this varnish prevents corrosion of the metal surface. 
 

What exactly is BPA?


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a very controversial compound that is often found in the varnish of tinplate packagings such as screw caps and cans. According to the EU regulation for food packagings, BPA is approved if limit values are complied with.  

Given our claim to pollutant-free packagings, Rapunzel has banned this controversial compound. Together with our suppliers we managed to convert all our canned products and all lids that are used for screw-cap glasses to the new BPA-NI (NI = non intend) varnish.  

Paper


Paper is made from renewable resources and can be recycled without problems. For that reason, Rapunzel packages some of the more resistant products such as rice in stable and tearproof paper bags that are made of 100 percent fresh fiber. The fresh fiber production is not in competition with food crop cultivation. Paper made from fresh fiber is renewable, biodegradable and GMO-free. The printing inks used for our packagings are mineral oil-free. In the future, we want to package even more Rapunzel products in paper bags. This requires, however, an investment in new packaging equipment. 

Not every product can be packaged in paper packaging. The crux with paper packagings is that they lack important barrier properties: humidity, omnipresent envrionmental pollutants such as MOSH/MOAH or bad odors may penetrate.  
Originalverpackung von 1981
Originalverpackung von 1981
The new Rapunzel paper packaging is made of stable, tearproof paper. A clear window made of pergamin - which is also made of paper - shows at first sight what kind of rice is in the package. The printing inks are mineral oil-free. 

By the way: rice paper packagings are not new for Rapunzel. Rapunzel packaged its rice in paper packages already in 1981. Having performed several successful tests with the new paper packaging materials and the discovery of a perfectly well maintained rice package from the 1980s in our archive convinced us to use paper again as packaging material. 

Since we really liked the optics of the old rice packaging from the 1980s, we decided to reuse the old design. Our new/old retro bag was born! Although the paper bag requires more handling and the material costs are significantly higher - we think it was well worth it. 

Bio films and plastic films


Bio films already protect several Rapunzel products and we continuously test biodegradable foils made from renewable raw materials. Some Rapunzel chocolates, for example, are already marketed in bio films and paper covers. Additional products will follow. But not every product is suited for this type of packaging, because cellulose foils require a special sealing lacquer and their sealing seams withstand only low filling levels.    

Things to keep in mind when using bio films

  • Rapunzel is not a packaging producer. Therefore, we have to focus on materials that are available on the market. Compared to big corporations, it is more difficult for Rapunzel to obtain tailor-made packaging solutions.
     
  • Biodegradable cannot always be equated with ecological. Foils made of renewable raw materials may contain genetically manipulated plants. This is incompatible with our company philosophy and our guideline for food quality.
     
  • The production of raw materials for bio films should not compete with the cultivation of food crops. Following this thought, e.g. bio films made of corn starch are not an option for us. 
Plastic foils stand in the firing line of critics. Rapunzel uses plastic foils sparingly and we try to minimize the material use by using only extra-thin foils. Despite all the criticism, plastic foils also have advantages. They have excellent runability on the packaging machines, they can be adapted to all different product sizes, they optimally protect food products against outer influences and can be perfectly sealed. 

Through the development of thinner foils, we could save a lot of material. If separated correctly, the packaging materials can be recycled. Moreover, the transport of food products wrapped in plastic foils saves CO2 emissions thanks to their low weight. 


Which foils are used by Rapunzel?

Our pasta, dried fruit, legumes, nuts, cereals and our muesli are packaged in PP-PE-PET foils. These foils are made without any plasticizers and they can be recycled if separated correctly.
Other products such as several Rapunzel chocolates are packaged in bio films. 

Aluminum


There is hardy any other material that protects food products against external influences as well as aluminum. Cocoa, for example, strongly attracts the chemical MOSH/MOAH compounds that are found in mineral oil. A protective lacquer prevents that cocoa comes in direct contact with aluminum. At the same time, we are trying to minimize/reduce the use of aluminum as much as possible. 

Whenever it is appropriate, Rapunzel will use other packaging materials. Today, we are packaging Gusto coffee and particularly sensitive walnut kernels and pecan nuts in aluminum-free bags. 

Tinplate


The Rapunzel cans are made of tinplate. Tinplate can be easily recycled and protects food products effectively from light. The controversial bisphenol A (BPA) compound is not used in Rapunzel tinplate. Together with our suppliers we managed to convert all our canned products to BPA-NI (NI = non intend) varnish. This varnish prevents corrosion of the can's metal surfaces. However, bisphenol A is a compound that is approved according to EU regulation for food packagings if certain limit values are complied with. This compound can be found frequently in the varnish of tinplate packagings such as screw caps and cans. 

Rapunzel's unpackaged portfolio


The way how Rapunzel has marketed its products in the beginning is becoming once more fashionable: unpackaged food products. Many Rapunzel products can be found in newly opened unpackaged shops. For us, this means that we are returning to our roots. 45 years ago, most of the products on the Rapunzel price list were loose products. Even our traditional nut butter was available without packaging. 
Today one can find many food products that are very well suited for a unpakaged stores, for example dried fruit, nuts, cereals, legumes and oilseeds

Favorite products such as Rapunzel Original muesli can be found there too. 
In the last several decades, Rapunzel has gathered a lot of know-how with the procurement of raw materials in original and/or bulk packagings, because restaurants and bakers have always been buying loose items from Rapunzel packaged in boxes or sacks.  
Selling products without any packaging is not possible, however, because products must be well-protected during transport. A food-safe plastic film protects the food products that are sold in cartons against external influences. This PE film is a mono-material with good recyclability.  

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