NEW YORK: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, and Heinz, the food group, have formed a new alliance aiming to enhance sustainability best practice.

Under the terms of the tie-up, Heinz will use the PlantBottle packaging, developed by Coca-Cola, for its branded Tomato Ketchup, covering around 120m units in 2011, with a global rollout intended going forward.

The company will add special labels to relevant bottles of Ketchup, beginning with the 20-ounce variety, and the modified versions should hit store shelves this summer.

Such a scheme contributes to Heinz's established goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and water consumption by at least a fifth by 2015.

"The partnership of Coca-Cola and Heinz is a model of collaboration in the food and beverage industry that will make a sustainable difference for the planet," said Bill Johnson, Heinz's chief executive.

Coca-Cola introduced this innovative offering, made with up to 30% plant extracts and therefore less reliant on natural resources, in 2009.

It is now deployed in nine markets, including Chile, Japan and the US, and plans are in place to reach another dozen nations in 2011.

Products like Sprite, Dansai and Coke and iLOHAS have also all been incorporated in this effort to date.

Research from Imperial College London demonstrated PlantBottle helped reduce the carbon impact of featured goods by between 12% and 19%.

Moreover, the beverage manufacturer reported this packaging eliminated 30,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 60,000 barrels of oil.

Coca-Cola expects PlantBottle to cover 5bn units in 2011, and the organisation hopes all its consumer-facing lines will leverage this substance by 2020.

"PlantBottle is revolutionising plastic, and our partnership with Heinz is paving the way for industry-wide collaboration," said Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola's chairman/ceo.

"This partnership is a great example of how businesses are working together to advance smart technologies that make a difference to our consumers and the planet we all share."

Data sourced from Heinz; additional content by Warc staff