three green bullets

Customer driven innovation
You and I. Marks & Spencer. Nicholl and Hydro

aluminiumpacaging

We have more in common than you might believe. You and I want food that is as fresh, tasty and inviting when on the plate, ready for eating, as it was when packaged by the farmer or in the shop. We, our customers, and our customers’ customers all want to proclaim that we are the most environmentally friendly people around. That’s why we are taking a longterm approach. You and I. Marks & Spencer. Nicholl and Hydro.

UK-based Nicholl is one of the world’s leading packaging companies. They are therefore equally interested in the food to be packaged as in the packaging they themselves produce. Their customer Marks & Spencer is one of the leading fresh food retailers. To package their foodstuffs, they want to use quality, recycled materials that will keep the contents fresh for long periods. That’s where we come in. Through close cooperation, advanced metallurgy, quality and flexible production we try to keep the customers of both Nicholl and Marks & Spencer satisfied.

For example, Nicholl and Hydro have joined forces to develop a new generation of smooth-walled aluminium trays. When Nicholl’s and our experts develop new technology together, any illusion that packaging is just packaging disappears. Because here the issues are micrometers, formability, strength and shelf-life. The weight has to be reduced due to price and climate considerations. While product quality requires that formability, strength and shelf-life need to be enhanced.

“We form aluminium into smooth-walled trays for keeping food in. We’re good at that. But we don’t know as much about aluminium as Hydro. We are therefore working closely together,” says Nicholl’s managing director Andrew Dent.

“Hydro is a big company, but it doesn’t seem like one,” he says.

In Holmestrand, Norway, Hydro produces top quality aluminium foil from recycled metal, with greenhouse gas emissions that are as low as possible. Great expertise is needed for this. Success is all down to the interplay between metal production and processing – the development of the right alloys, the metallurgy involved.

“Our new smooth-walled aluminium trays are unique. They became an overnight success and have created a completely new market. Marks & Spencer took chicken out of plastic containers and into aluminium trays about four-five years ago. We couldn’t have supplied this product, with its unique properties, without the right aluminium alloy,” says Andrew Dent.

“Did you know that the key to tasty packaged food is the smooth-walled contour of the tray?”

Updated: December 1, 2008
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