Problem solving: Paper straws in drinks
13 October 2021
Lynneric Potter, Food Packaging Technical Lead
The ban on plastic straws and stirrers, amongst other items, around the world is continuing to impact how customers
and manufacturers think about plastics. With the ban on plastic straws becoming more widespread, paper straws have become the new norm.
However, this transition from plastic to paper straws has highlighted a few concerns – namely the paper straw’s
quality and stability over time.
Is this a concern for your business?
As brands want to provide a great customer experience, manufacturers need to rise to the challenge of meeting demand
for functional paper straws.
Criticised by customers for failing to pierce drinks cartons and lacking flexibility like plastic straws, consumers
are frustrated with their poor performance when immersed in liquids. Weakening and breaking down during use, small pieces of paper can end
up floating around in the glass and drinks tasting like paper. Whilst the collapse and disintegration of paper straws spoil the consumer
experience, when left in the mouth for too long or chewed on, they become a potential choking hazard.
Adequate testing is essential to ensure the paper straw of choice is suitable for the different drinks’ application.
Solution for increasing demand for food-safe paper straws
With increasing awareness around safety concerns and sensory quality, manufacturers and brands are paying more
attention to ensure they provide paper straws which are fit-for-purpose for their customers.
We can help you achieve this. A recent project carried out by Campden BRI with Princes highlighted that paper straws
can behave differently when exposed to different liquids. The bespoke project assessed the strength of a range of different paper straws for
their juice cartons. The straws were tested with water and juice, at two temperatures, and for different lengths of time. The tests revealed
that the temperature and type of drink impacted the integrity of the paper straws.
With these factors having a fundamental impact on paper straws performance, businesses need to consider the different
usage scenarios from consumers. Therefore, adequate testing is essential to ensure the paper straw of choice is suitable for the different
As beverage brands, restaurants and corporations continue the transition from plastic to paper straws, it is
important that they offer strength and liquid resistance required to meet the needs of the consumer.
Lynneric Potter is a food packaging specialist within the Department of Food Manufacturing Technologies at Campden BRI where she has worked since
1999. Lynneric’s main activities involve consultancy and testing of packaging materials to ensure they are fit for purpose.
Need help in this area?
With a range of testing facilities for assessing paper straws amongst other materials including physical and
performance testing, contact Campden BRI today to ensure your straws are fit for purpose with the liquid of choice.
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