By Mark Piper, Fonterra’s director for category, strategy and innovation




A new plant-based bottle made from renewable and sustainably-sourced sugarcane has joined the Anchor Blue range on the shelves as part of Fonterra’s commitment to have all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Anchor has added to its Blue range, with a new plant-based 2L bottle. It’s made from sugarcane, which is natural, renewable and sustainably-sourced and a great alternative to bottles made from non-renewable sources like fossil fuels. The benefits continue – sugarcane captures CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows, resulting in a bottle that also has a low carbon footprint with around 85% less climate change impact in terms of CO2 than one made using fossil fuels.

The sugarcane is made into HDPE plastic in Brazil and the bottle itself is made in New Zealand. The plant-based milk bottle is 100% kerbside recyclable, which aligns with Fonterra’s commitment to have all packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

According to research from the Sustainable Business Council, 71% of Kiwis are actively researching the sustainability practices of brands before making a product purchase. We know sustainability is important to New Zealanders and we want to give consumers an option to make change for good.

The plant-based bottle follows hot on the heels of Anchor’s launch of Simply Milk in July, which is New Zealand’s first carbon-zero milk.

This plant-based milk bottle is also an important component in the Co-operative’s wider sustainability strategy. We have committed to moving towards renewable energy in transport and manufacturing and finding ways to manage and reduce our emissions over the whole supply chain.

Research into the new bottle shows that people are looking for products that are sustainably produced and they liked the plant-based bottle concept versus traditional fossil fuel-based plastic alternatives.

Anchor has been part of New Zealand communities for 134 years and during this time it has innovated with a range of different milks and new packaging that respond to changing consumer needs.

Initially the new plant-based milk bottle is available in supermarkets, dairies and convenience stores and cafés across the North Island – with a view to expand distribution and product ranging based on consumer response.

An independent life cycle assessment of the bottle has also concluded this plant-based plastic HDPE also has a lower carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuel-based HDPE, which most plastic milk bottles in New Zealand are made from.

To verify our sustainability claims and help make this information more accessible and transparent to consumers, each Anchor plant-based bottle will have a unique QR code that will take consumers to the platform, a market leader in supply chain transparency.  Here, consumers can see the story and the facts behind our plant-based bottle and broader sustainability initiatives.

Mark Piper is Fonterra’s director for category, strategy and innovation and has been with the co-operative for more than 20 years in different parts of the business. He leads Fonterra’s Palmerston North-based Research and Development Centre (FRDC) – home to more than 350 researchers, engineers, nutritionists and scientists from 46 different countries, with more 4,500 years of combined dairy experience.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.