On 2 June 2022, global beer brand Corona announced the launch of a new 100% biodegradable and compostable six-pack made from 100% barley straw in India. This new circular form of packaging reaffirms Corona's larger goal of protecting and preserving nature. Corona's new six-pack made from 100% barley straw aligns with this year's World Environment Day theme of 'Only One Earth', focusing on "Living Sustainably in Harmony with Nature".
Eco-packaging has been at the forefront of many consumer conversations in India, with increased knowledge of social concerns over waste, climate change, and carbon footprint reduction. The Corona six-pack, made of 100% barley straw, is as durable as regular packaging. This eliminates the need for using virgin wood from trees and other resources while tying back to Corona's commitment to protect this beautiful paradise around us.
"Ever since its inception, Corona has been synonymous with the outdoors and has had a deep connection with nature. We believe it is our responsibility to protect and preserve it. After in-depth assessments across our supply chain, we wanted to first start with revamping our packaging and making it sustainable. Today is an immensely proud day for us, as we launch the future of packaging which is made from 100% Barley waste. We are honoured to introduce an intervention that speaks to Corona's mission of protecting the environment by reducing waste and truly being a global responsible brand," said Vineet Sharma, vice president – Marketing, South Asia, AB InBev.
With circularity at the core of this innovation, Corona works with Barley farmers in India to buy leftover straw that is often the cause of crop burning, a critical issue in North India, to manufacture these 100% biodegradable compostable six-packs. By commercializing barley straw, farmers receive an income for crop waste that otherwise has limited marketable benefits. Converting barley straw to packaging uses 1/3rd of water* compared to traditional technologies. Additionally, introducing such eco-friendly packing helps reduce crop burning and prevent approximately 1400 KG CO2 emissions/ton of packaging produced.
Adding to the benefits of launching this packaging, Ashwin Kak, head - Procurement & Sustainability, India & South East Asia, AB InBev, said, "At AB InBev, we constantly challenge the status quo and push boundaries to deliver solutions that are sustainable, innovative, and scalable. We are proud to provide a truly circular innovation through upcycling that offers a meaningful experience to our consumers while giving our farmers an added means of income through these Corona six-packs made from pure barley straw. This is also a vital step towards achieving our larger global goal of ensuring that 100% of our product packaging will be returnable or made from a majority of recycled content by 2025. At AB InBev, our dream is to create a future with more cheers, and we are proud to invest in sustainable solutions that positively impact the environment and our communities."
Corona has worked with Craste, a green, sustainable packaging company, to develop this circular and scalable technology. AB InBev and Craste have been working towards developing this technology for more than three years.
Commenting on this innovation, Dr Himansha Singh PhD, co-founder, Craste, said, "We are excited to provide industrial-scale circular solutions to organizations committed to moving away from fossil-fuel reliant materials and thus reducing the impact on the environment. With this packaging, we have not only saved trees but have also helped farmers by giving them secondary income for barley waste. AB InBev's early support and partnership have been pivotal for us, which helped us within labs and gave us a solid foundation for commercializing our tech from bench to shelf!"
The new packaging is currently being piloted in Bangalore and once completed successfully, it will be rolled out to other states in India. AB InBev, the makers of Corona and other globally loved brands like Budweiser, Hoegaarden etc., has established strong goals for packaging. The launch of this innovation with Corona is a milestone in AB InBev India's journey to eco-friendly solutions.