WEB EXCLUSIVE: In a somewhat unusual move, two major consumer brands will cosponsor next month’s BioPlastek 2011 Forum on Bioplastics in N.Y.C. The Coca-Cola Co. and H.J. Heinz Co. will co-host the welcoming reception on June 27 and luncheon on June 28, where attendees will have to opportunity to actually use the new bio-based PET bottles from the two companies. Coca-Cola is using the occasion of this meeting to formally announce the national rollout of its Dasani bottled water in the PlantBottle, which has 30% renewable content from sugarcane ethanol. In the keynote presentation, Dr. Michael Okorafor, Heinz’s vp of packaging R&D and innovation, will explain why the company’s flagship ketchup brand is being switched to the PlantBottle and what other potential packaging applications he envisions for plant-based PET.
The cosponsorship of the conference (organized by Schotland Business Research, Inc.) underscores the importance both firms attach to their landmark strategic partnership and why there is a need for collaboration between giants to raise awareness of the eco-benefits of launching iconic brands in renewably based plastics. Industry observers say it can be seen as a form of “pull-through” marketing of bioplastics, aiming to raise consumer awareness and help create economies of scale that will enable further market penetration.