Source: Saputo Dairy UK

The move will save the brand 40 tonnes of plastic per year

Saputo Dairy UK has unveiled a major packaging revamp for its Cathedral City cheddar range, with a new side-opening mechanism it claims will save 40 tonnes of plastic a year.

The dairy giant’s market-leading cheese brand will start rolling out the new packaging from next week across its entire range.

It described the resealable side opening, which uses the brand’s signature zip lock, as a “UK first” that kept cheese fresher for longer, and an innovation that reduced Cathedral City’s plastic content by 6% per pack.

Convenience was “at the heart of the redesign”, Saputo said, while it also gave consumers the ability “to seamlessly slide the cheese in and out of the pack without touching the bare cheese block, so they can slice or grate it straight from the packet”.

In shopper trials, more than 60% of users preferred the new side opening format, the supplier added. Some 73% of consumers also agreed the zip lock would keep their cheddar fresher and would be easy to open and reclose multiple times.

“Research has told us that consumers are looking for ease and convenience when using their block of cheese,” said Cathedral City marketing controller Neil Stewart.

“Hygienic handling and the ability to keep the cheese as fresh as possible were also key considerations,” he added. ”Our new side-opening, resealable packs achieve all of those things.

“We will always listen to our customers and their feedback and, as such, the packaging will continue to feature the press to close ability that not only keeps our cheese fresh and helps to reduce food waste, but also eliminates the need for secondary plastic to reseal the cheese once opened.”

The new packaging follows the announcement of a new brand identity last month across the Cathedral City range, featuring what it described as “a modern, redesigned city scene around its iconic cathedral and new, vibrant SKU-specific colourways to complement its signature burgundy”.

Cathedral City’s move to reduce its plastic usage follows the launch of a Terracycle recycling scheme in July 2020.

The issue of plastic packaging is growing increasingly important within the cheese category.

Ornua’s rival brand Pilgrims Choice changed the shape of its cheese to an oblong in September 2020, in a move later followed by Tesco for all its own-label cheese supplied by Ornua.

The change reduced the amount of plastic used by 40% per pack of cheese. Ornua and Tesco said the switch would remove a combined 343 tonnes of plastic from the Pilgrims Choice and own-label cheese supply chains each year.

Elsewhere, Lancashire-based supplier Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses launched fully recyclable plastic packaging for its hard, soft and blue cheeses in October 2020, while Wyke Farms cut its use of plastic by 35% last November.