When sugar beets pack sugar

Image of a paper bag in a field of sugar beets
In the Crown-Native paper, the sugar beet pulp finds a use and ensures a lower impact on the environment. (Image: Crown van Gelder)

How can sustainable packaging be produced and valuable cycles be created? This is a question that companies have been increasingly addressing in recent years and are looking for alternatives for packaging materials, especially in the area of fibre-based packaging. Here, it makes sense to use materials that already accumulated – for example, in agriculture. In the Netherlands, the paper manufacturer, Crown Van Gelder, offers paper made from sugar beet pulp.

Since 2020, the Dutch company has been producing Crown Native, a paper that has several positive properties. It is strong, food safe, recyclable and compostable. In addition, Crown Native can be printed in offset and flexo.

The paper is made from 20 per cent sugar beet fibre, which has ecological advantages. The ecological footprint is 16 percent lower and the fibres have 80 percent less impact on the environment than wood fibre. This is because the beet pulp is produced anyway during the harvesting and further processing of sugar beet into sugar, for example, and grows locally and faster than wood or trees.

Image of a paper bag packaging for sugar
Crown Native is not only partly made from sugar beet, but also repackages it. The paper is food-safe and is therefore suitable as packaging for sugar. (Image: Crown van Gelder)

From biogas to food bags

The paper was developed within a year, together with Royal Cosun. The association of 8,400 farmers and more than 23,000 partners develops plant-based products of the highest quality, from food to green energy such as biogas. The sugar beet paper has already been used to make sacks, bags, stationeries and even pizza boxes.

“I am proud to see how the cooperation with our partners has led to the successful development and use of this environmentally friendly bag. This plant-based innovation fits perfectly into our Cosun strategy, ‘Unlock25’, where we want to unleash the full potential of our plants.”

Andries Olie, Manager of Sustainability at Royal Cosun

The paper bag was awarded the EUROSAC Grand Prix 2022 in bronze and also received the audience award. The paper from the Cosun Beet Company, Novidon (a Cosun company) and Crown Van Gelder is printed by Fiorini and made into bags, which are then filled with seeds from grass producer, DLF.

Close-up of a paper roll with sugar beet fiber
The Crown Native paper consists of 20 percent sugar beet. (Image: Crown van Gelder)

“Sustainability is an important topic for DLF. Our core business: grass is in itself a very sustainable natural product that contributes in many ways to making the world more sustainable. As part of this special innovative partner chain, we were able to use this even more environmentally friendly paper for our bags. By using this new type of paper, we are making the world a little bit greener.”

Johan Monfrooij, Supply Chain Manager for DLF Benelux

The open-mouth bag developed consists of three layers of Crown Native paper and Novidon’s Novinexx CPB paper bag glue. The fibres of the packaging can be reused up to seven times and the cooperation with Royal Cosun ensures that the beet is fully utilised and recycled.


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