A major enabler of packaging convenience is ongoing innovation in resealable options, which is helping drive growth in flexible packaging, particularly pouches. For example, demand for stand-up pouches is expected to increase 6% annually through 2024. Contributing to growth are convenience features such as resealable closures to maintain freshness, according to a December 2020 Freedonia Group news release.
A major provider of products that enable resealable pouches is the Fresh-Lock products division of Presto Products. Todd Meussling, the company’s senior manager, market development, provides the following insights and information in an exclusive interview.
What are the market dynamics for reclosure technologies?
Meussling: We have seen a major spike in pet ownership during the pandemic, and with that a humanization of pets that has owners looking for pet products with the same quality they seek for themselves. Pet owners want better ingredients, more freshness, better taste, and better packaging. Additionally, they want pet products that offer sustainability. While many brands are removing convenience features from their packaging and implementing cost-saving measures, others can take advantage of closures and offer functional packaging that properly seals. We have seen an opportunity for our closure technologies because of this, and closures like the Fresh-Lock Zipper Top 8253 (found on the last slide) offer the sustainability and functionality consumers are seeking.
Another major trend is the rise of ecommerce during the pandemic. Ecommerce was already becoming commonplace, but the pandemic has pushed more and more people to shop online. Brands must offer packaging that can survive the rigorous supply chain, whether through brick-and-mortar or ecommerce.
Flexible packaging is well suited for ecommerce because of its durable, puncture-resistant materials. This has created opportunities for closures like Fresh-Lock zipper style 8503, which has a high holding force and is compatible with heavy-duty large pouches found in pet food being purchased though ecommerce channels more frequently.
Please comment on the impact of COVID-19.
Meussling: In 2019 and prior to it, sustainability was a major talking point for brands and consumers, with single-use plastics at the center of the conversation. The pandemic caused everyone to realize there is in fact a need for plastic packaging. However, there is still a call for sustainability, even if it was put on the backburner as an initial response to the pandemic. Just like consumers, the brands and retailers we work with had to shift their focus this year, in particular from established sustainability initiatives to simply stocking their shelves with essential products. As we continue to adjust in the evolving normal of the pandemic and people increase their calls for sustainability, we are seeing more opportunities arise for the Fresh-Lock 8000 series of sustainable closures, which can provide both product protection and sustainability.
How has the Green Spool Program progressed?
Meussling: The Fresh-Lock Green Spool Program continues to grow. There had been more than one million spools saved from landfills either through recycling or reuse through the end of 2019. As of today, we remain the only manufacturer offering this kind of program.
How was the company’s experience at the Pack Expo Connects virtual event in November?
Meussling: Our Innovation Stage presentation was very well attended, and many of the other education sessions got a lot of attention as well. The information that was shared across these sessions was very valuable, and we had many interactions with leaders in the packaging industry. We think this kind of event format can serve the industry well moving forward.
In-person events are obviously beneficial, but virtual events can provide new opportunities for interacting with our customers and partners. This year, the Fresh-Lock team unveiled its first virtual market, where visitors can see all our products, watch educational videos, and interact with avatars of Fresh-Lock leaders. It is a great way for people to see what we are doing as a brand and learn more about the closure technology we offer.
What follows is a slideshow gallery of company’s resealable zipper and other reclosure options providing an overview of the various styles, functionality, options, and insights from Meussling.