A news article published February 19, 2014 on the Plastic News website reports that the global food company Groupe Danone has changed about 5 % of their yogurt packaging from polystyrene (PS) to bio-based polylactic acid (PLA). As for now the new packaging is marketed in the U.S. and in Germany, but Danone is said to search for opportunities to increase the application of the new material. Switching packaging material affects the whole stream of production and is a cost-intensive endeavor. For the new material, Danone requires full transparency from suppliers in order to prevent potential media responses caused by health scares associated with chemicals. Furthermore, the use of PLA is also economically competitive compared to PS. Even though having a higher price per kilogram, PLA packaging can be produced with thinner walls and takes up less space in shipping, resulting in an equal price per piece. Moreover, Danone also anticipates PLA to have greater price stability compared to materials based on petroleum. A drawback of PLA is that it cannot be applied in a hot-fill line.
Rhoda Miel (February 19, 2014). “Danone converting some yogurt packaging to PLA” Plastic News