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Small steps toward plastic-free packaging

9 December 2020
The Vincent Guerlais chocolaterie is celebrating 23 years in business. It was in 1997 that Karen and Vincent Guerlais moved into Number 11 Rue Franklin, in Nantes, bringing their delicious recipes with them.

Maison Guerlais is now a business with 95 employees spread across production, shops and administrative services, all united by a single desire: to offer you original products of ever higher quality, to surprise you and delight your tastebuds with every mouthful!

The abundant creativity of Vincent Guerlais, the “tastebud agitator”, does not stop at devising delicious treats For some years now he has been keen to rationalise his packaging and reduce the use of plastic in shop containers. This is a real challenge. The transparency of plastic allows the product to be shown off to its best advantage: it is used a great deal in the packaging of biscuits, confectionery, cakes and so on.

Vincent has been working with a packaging supplier to work out new packaging guidelines for his shops. Together, they have studied the various alternatives.

The challenge was to keep cardboard and paper, while doing away with as much plastic and glue as possible. The constraints of food contact, product presentation and practicality (both for teams and for the customer) remained the same.

So they needed to come up with new techniques and new materials, run tests, refine further, start again… and 2 years after their first discussions on the subject, the new range has (finally!) hit the shops.

Box of Vincent Guerlais Macarons, new generation

Boxes for macarons, chocolates, Petit-Beurre biscuits and more… are now packaged using carefully-folded végécal© paper. So there is no more glue or plastic, and the finished effect is exceptional.

A box of Guerlingots, the interior entirely made up of Végécal© paper: transparent and approved for food contact.

Vincent also decided to remove the film-wrapping from his chocolate bar cartons, making them easier to recycle. His “flowpack” transparent plastic packaging is now made from maize pulp, meaning it is biodegradable.

This work on packaging is the continuation of a more general process started by Maison Guerlais many years ago. Vincent’s aim is to limit the number of intermediaries, to manage his own supplies and work with products in their most natural state possible. That is why he now selects his own beans and makes his own chocolate.

He therefore sees ensuring responsible packaging as the logical continuation of the work he has already done in selecting his raw materials. 

There is, of course, still a long way to go, and these advances are just “small steps” toward doing away with disposable plastic containers, but Maison Guerlais is on the right track, with a clear objective in mind. 

Thank you for paving the way!

Marie Loones for relais Desserts

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