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Heinz to Use Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology

The Coca-Cola Co. uses its PlantBottle as a selling point for Coke, Sprite, Dasani, Fresca and other drinks. Soon, the plant-based packaging will help Coke make money when shoppers grab Heinz ketchup, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Starting this year, H.J. Heinz Co. will make its ketchup bottles using PlantBottle packaging, which is made partially from plants and reduces reliance on petroleum. The deal represents Coca-Cola’s first licensing agreement for the PlantBottle, which it launched in 2009. More links between the beverage and food giants could be coming.

Heinz Ketchup is going to convert to PlantBottle technology around the world, beginning with 120 million 20-ounce bottles this year, or about one-fifth of annual production. But Heinz says use of the technology will expand.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola and Pittsburgh-based Heinz announced the agreement Wednesday at an analyst conference in Florida. They didn’t say how much Heinz will pay, according to the Journal-Constitution.

William R. Johnson, chairman and chief executive of Heinz, said at the conference Coca-Cola and Heinz may collaborate more in areas such as procurement, agriculture and health and wellness. He declined to give details.

That kind of deal has a close precedent. In 2009, PepsiCo agreed to a collaboration with Anheuser-Busch InBev. The big beverage companies teamed up to get better deals on office supplies, computers and advertising.

Up to 30 percent of the material in a PlantBottle is produced with natural sugars found in sugarcane ethanol from Brazil. The bottle is available in nine markets and is expected to reach more than a dozen others this year.

Food and beverage companies have been trying to make their packaging more environmentally-friendly and marketable for years, for example by cutting the amount of material used. The weight of a 16.9-ounce single serve water bottle has dropped by a third in eight years, according to the International Bottled Water Association.

Coca-Cola can “have a real and lasting impact on sustainable packaging,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive to the Journal-Constitution. The goal is to be “much more in line with the expectations of our consumers, and in many cases ahead of their expectations. We keep pushing the envelope.”

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