Why add a dispensing spout at the bottom of the pouch? How did you come up with this idea? Most gusseted refill pouches are tipped to pour from a corner spout.
Smith: This was an important part of our testing process. We knew we wanted to improve the consumer experience (that is, make it easy to use), so we challenged the team with re-thinking the refill process. Because 160 ounces of liquid weighs more than 10 pounds, it made sense to use the weight to our advantage so consumers can rest the package on the edge of a counter and refill easily with no mess.
Is the dispenser sealed to the bladder on the pouch in any way or simply friction fit (pushed in)?
Smith: It is a friction fit with three seals between the tap and gland.
Does the fitment lock?
Boku: There’s a valve inside the fitment. When you press down, it releases the valve to dispense the product. But when you stop pressing down on the two dispensing tabs, the valve then shuts and stops the product flow.
How is the dispenser added to the pouch?
Boku: The entire pouch, except for the dispenser and the two handles, is made inline on the pouch machine. That’s the two gussets, the front and back panels, the die cutting of the handles, and the bottom and top tapering [shaping] of the pouch are all done inline.
The dispenser is placed on afterwards. The bladder piece attaches to the pouch and the dispenser part is actually loose. We half-torque on the dispenser piece and ship it that way, meaning not pressed in all the way. Because on the filler, a gripper mechanism will pull off the dispenser so a nozzle can drop in and fill the pouch to the correct weight. Then the mechanism puts the dispenser back in and torques it all the way on. Once the dispenser piece is applied all the way, there’s no way to take it off for filling.
When we did the drop tests, the pouch passed a couple times from head- or shoulder-high. After that, it would start to tear from the material, as opposed to from the dispenser. That’s pretty interesting how secure that whole dispenser area is.
Where is the pouch filled?
Smith: Near our manufacturing facility in North Carolina.
The dispensing tabs on either side make it easy to activate the dispenser with one hand. Was one-handed use an important feature for you?
Smith: Yes. Our current cartridge does not stand up on a counter, so this is an important new feature.
The dispenser is also tamper-evident. Is that an important feature for you?
Smith: Yes. Consumers want the confidence that they are using a product that has not been already opened.
The dispenser is tamper evident: A blue molded piece needs to be removed before the wings on either side can be lifted to open the valve so product can flow. The dispenser also has a foil induction seal and an overcap to minimize drips once the dispenser is opened.
Tell us about the handles in the header.
Boku: The pouch has plastic carrying handles built into it at the top, one on the front and one on the back, for comfort. Otherwise, just die-cut holes would have been too sharp on the fingers.
You can’t really see the handles from the outside until you pick up the package. We didn’t want to make it too obvious. We wanted it to be somewhat of a surprise when people picked up the pouch.
The pouch holds 160 ounces, which is about 10 pounds. Consumers can carry the pouch with two hands, if they wanted to, if they’re not as strong. Or they can carry it with one hand.
The two handles simply pinch together; they don’t snap closed.
There’s no need for the two handles to snap together, right?
Smith: Correct, it is easy for the consumer to put one hand thru both of the handles.
The plastic handles are sealed into the die-cut holes and provide a comfortable carrying feature.
Bona created a special shipping case to secure and stabilize the pouches. Please tell us more about the case.
Smith: We ship our current rigid product four to a case, so we wanted to mirror that for these pouches. We also created a single-pack shipper for Amazon and our own website sales. We tested the packaging to make sure the product arrived without any damage.
Designed for ecommerce sales via Amazon and Bona's website, the shipping case for a single pouch includes a partition to capture and contain the spout, keeping the pouch in place during distribution.