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Interview: Daniela de Sousa, Amorim Top Series, discusses new sustainable and anti-counterfeiting product ranges

Amorim Top Series has two sets of cork stopper products which are providing key solutions to its consumers in regard to sustainability and to anti-counterfeiting, which sales and marketing director Daniela de Sousa has been keen for consumers to gain greater understanding of. 

The demand for sustainable products has been growing in recent years and Amorim is taking the necessary steps and setting itself objectives in order to keep up with the expectations. 

There has long been a misconception about the practice of cork harvesting and how sustainable it can be, particularly for a company such as Amorim which is placing greater emphasis on its sustainable policies. As Sousa explains the process, however, it’s clear this practice is well within the company’s sustainability guidelines: “The cyclical nature of the harvesting and regeneration of the bark of the cork oak tree (cork) occurs without deforestation.  The cork oak tree is a slow-growing tree, from which cork can be harvested 15 to 18 times during its lifetime.  The first harvest can only occur when the trunk of the tree reaches a perimeter of 70 cm. The cork removed in this first harvest is called ‘virgin’. After nine years, ‘secondary’ cork is harvested. Then, ‘amadia’ or ‘reproduction’ cork is harvested every nine years. 

“The cork oak forest is a carbon sink since no cork oak tree is cut during the stripping process. The cork oak tree can live an average of 200 years - for every ton of cork produced, cork oak forests sequester up to 73 tons of CO2, and the carbon balance can attain -288 g CO2eq, taking into account the carbon sequestration of cork oak forests and the emissions associated with the production of a Naturity stopper.”

There are three products as part of this new sustainability-focused range: FULL CORK; RE.CORK and RE.WOOD. 

The cork and wood granules used in each product are obtained from the recovery of by-products and residues from the production of it, and the polymer is selected depending on the requested raw material origin and product end of life. 

Amorim Top Series offers its clients a range of different solutions, varying from fully recycled materials and recyclable products to 100% natural origin products that are recyclable or compostable. The corks provide an alternative to conventional plastic tops, due to the lower carbon footprint to the final packaging.

FULL CORK is a mono-material capsule made of natural or agglomerated cork. RE.CORK is made of cork-based composite which contains up to 50% of cork granules and a polymer as a binder. RE.WOOD is similar to RE.CORK but instead of having a cork-based composite it has a wood-based composite.

Solutions to anti-counterfeiting have been one of the industry’s biggest needs in recent years, especially in particular countries with big players with a global footprint. To combat this problem, Amorim has a number of products designed to protect consumers, through TapSeries.

TapSeries 1.0 uses near field communication (NFC) technology, which enables data transmission wirelessly between devices close to each other. In this instance, the devices are the closure, and a smartphone. 

Along with the use of NFC technology, Amorim has also called upon a second system to allow for tamper evidence in its new TapSeries 2.0. Tamper evidence is ensured by a system inside the cork stopper that is triggered when the pulling the cork stopper from the bottle. The cork will alert the consumer that the bottle has already been opened, providing that extra security.

“The immediate advantage of the TapSeries is to help combat counterfeiting which is a major problem in the fast-growing spirits markets,” Sousa explains. “TapSeries can also be used to provide a wealth of additional information about the product and for marketing actions. It can provide information about the product origin, serving & mixing suggestions, promotional campaigns. To access all this information, the consumer needs to scan the tag with the smartphone by tapping the top of the closure. To check for authenticity, a mobile application needs to be previously installed on the smartphone. The application communicates with a server, through a secure connection, and different messages appear depending on if the code is recognised or not.”

Amorim has also developed another system to detect packaging violation – to both bottle and cork stopper – without using NFC technology. Known as the DV System, it indicates whether the cork stopper has been removed from the bottle or if there has been any attempts to remove it. If the cork stopper is pulled, the top will suffer irreversible modifications to its configuration and appearance, with a red band appearing at the top.

Sousa concludes that: “Overall, adding value to cork in an innovative and competitive way, is the key driver of Amorim Top Series."

More information on Amorim Top Series can be found here.

25 September 2023 - Bradley Weir