Don't you love "top 10" lists? Well, here's one from a recently released study from Packaging Strategies (www.packstrat.com): New Options in Rigid and Flexible Packaging. The list, put together by Omega Research Associates, comprises 10 packaging technologies they believe will affect the packaging industry for years (see our online exclusive for the study's entire executive summary at www.packagingdigest.com/info/options). See if you agree with their choices.
Aluminum bottles: Used to package a disparate group of liquid products, its great potential market is beer. Aluminum is light in weight, chills quickly and provides an excellent barrier. However, its premium price may limit usage. Nonetheless, it has been well received and is expected to develop into a versatile, niche package.
Standup pouch: Arguably the most successful package since the polyethylene terephthalate bottle, it has become a mainstream package in Europe and the U.S. as the number of applications proliferate. The pouch has been helped considerably by the development of innovative closures and spouts that make consumer use convenient (see the Gleukos feature, p. 38).
Retortable pouch: Following an unsuccessful launch in the early 1980s, the retortable pouch has been more successful in recent years, due partially to consumer familiarity with standup pouches for dry products. Pouches for shelf-stable, thermally processed foods became a logical next step. The pouch is currently used primarily for tuna and petfood.
Barrier plastic bottles: Improved barrier properties enable oxygen-sensitive liquids to be packaged in plastics. With some success in food and beverage applications, barrier bottles' ultimate success will be based on beer packaging.
Easy-open cans: These were designed to make food cans more consumer-friendly and stop the erosion of market share to other packaging. The full-aperture lid has been most successful in the U.S.
Shrink labels: Currently the most dynamic segment of the label market, shrink labels can be partial or full-body and come in polyvinyl chloride, oriented polypropylene, oriented polystyrene and PET-glycol.
Blister-packs: Accounting for only 25 percent of the domestic pharmaceutical packaging market, blisters may see a dramatic increase as the pharmaceutical industry globalizes and standardizes its packaging.
Modified atmosphere packaging: As a method of retarding spoilage in fresh foods, MAP has enjoyed considerable success with meat packaging, but its growth is attributable to precut, washed salad greens and other produce.
Aseptic packaging: Moving beyond the juice box into PET and high-density polyethylene bottles, aseptics cost more than retorted or hot-filled containers, but the quality of the food is superior.
Bag-in-box: A mainstay of foodservice packaging for decades, its popularity in wine packaging has surprised many industry observers. Bag-in-box wines have significant shares of the market in Australia, Scandinavia and the U.S.