Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

April 7, 2017

5 Min Read
5 feats of phenomenal packaging insight in March

Packaging design successes, snacking trends and sustainability challenges starred in March 2017 on as topics of our best-read articles. While not limited to the food industry, all articles cover this highest-consumption packaging market yet still show broad appeal to the global packaging audience involved with any product category.

We unveil here our top five articles, based on page views from March 1 to 31, starting with No.5 and building up to the scintillating No.1 story of the month.


5. Interest in flexible packaging recycling continues to heat up as brands often select this popular package format for various business reasons—but find its end-of-life options somewhat…limiting.

At the 2017 Flexible Packaging Assn. annual meeting, global sustainability director Jeff Wooster from The Dow Chemical Co. updated FPA members on where the industry was and what manufacturers and converters could do to help increase the recycling of their flexible packaging products.

During Packaging Digest’s exclusive interview with Wooster at the meeting, we explored the idea of whether recycled-content material use in flexible packages would help build momentum for a more robust recycling infrastructure for these materials.

Bottom line: Wooster says yes, but…

“It’s a complex system that will take some coordination, but I believe there’s a lot of opportunity ahead.”

Packaging Digest subsequently followed up on the issue of using recycled-content material in flexible packaging in the article “Is there a market for recycled-content materials in flexible packaging?,” which has input from three others in the value chain: brand owner Seventh Generation, leading U.S. recycler Waste Management and flexible packaging manufacturer ProAmpac.


4. Sustainability dominates our fourth best-read article of the month, this time as sustainability relates to ecommerce packaging, another business area experiencing remarkable growth.

In the article “The sustainability of ecommerce packaging is in question,” Packaging Digest reports on a new whitepaper from environmental and policy packaging group Ameripen that succinctly outlines the unique challenges for optimizing packaging in the ecommerce channel.

Authors Bob Lilienfeld, Ameripen senior communications director, and Kyla Fisher, founder, Three Peaks Sustainability, explain why this topic deserves attention now and how packaging designers will adapt.

Key conclusions from the whitepaper:

• “[O]ptimizing packaging for ecommerce may very well look different than design for traditional retail, due to the different demands of the respective distribution chains.”

• “Opportunities to invest in further development of the packaging supply chain for ecommerce and subsequently omni-commerce scan the breadth of distribution channel and solutions will come only through industry collaboration and transparency.”

So what’s your ecommerce packaging design strategy and how does it jive with your sustainable packaging objectives?


3. Never underestimate the drawing power of a big brand name. When executives from food powerhouse Mondelēz talk about packaging, you listen.

Gil Horsky, global head of innovation at Mondelēz, shared “4 snacking trends and their packaging implications” to promote his early-March presentation at a food conference in London—and earned the No.3 spot on our best-read articles of the month.

If you haven’t already, you might want to take the time to read his insights into packaging’s starring role in these trends:

• Mission Nutrition: From the addition of functional ingredients to catering for health conditions and intolerances, snack companies must meet consumers’ wellness agenda.

• Pure Pleasure: From chocolate inhalers to lollipop cakes, clever producers are turning “snacks” into “experiences” that enliven and enrich.

• Social Snacks: Consumers don’t want to snack alone. Sharing and personalization can turn snacking into a social activity.

• Instant Everywhere: Buy-on-the-go lifestyles demand new retail and vending formats that make snack buying instant, affordable and fun.


2. No matter what function people serve on a packaging team, nearly everyone seems to be equally interested in the final product: the product package. Articles related to new packages almost always do well across our packaging community of diverse titles, from engineers to executives and designers to developers.

So when we posted “February flaunts 5 fabulous packaging design developments” (our Top 5 list from February 2017 that were all about new packages!), the clicks were frequent and steady, landing this article at the No.2 spot for the month of March.

Which of these packaging designs spoke to you?

Uglies makes rejected potatoes stylishly sustainable

1 beer, 4 playful sleeve-label designs

The sustainability of ecommerce packaging is in question (still a favorite, two months in a row!)

Frito-Lay taps smart packaging for MADD Super Bowl promo

Bag-in-box bulk water debuts in U.S.


1. Flexible packaging is making a big splash with brand owners these days. In our best-read article of March 2017, we showed you 19 examples of award-winning achievements in flexible packaging that prove that point.

Here are the winners of the 2017 Flexible Packaging Achievement Awards from the Flexible Packaging Assn.:

1. Hunt’s Recipe Ready tomato paste pouch

2. Amcor’s Fortis medical breather bag

3. Cape Cod “Bags of Cash” promotional package

4. Clinic Plus Strong & Long Health Shampoo pouch

5. Nudges Grillers Dog Treats pouch

6. Shaker Bag (photo above)

7. Waterless Internet flower packaging

8. Banquet Dino-Shaped Chicken Nuggets package

9. CAF's "ORUS" Squeegee Bucket Solution box pouch

10. Cryovac Sealappeal OSF AW ovenable bag for whole birds

11. FormFoil Lite suture package

12. gather Free Acres Adult Canine Diet pouch

13. General Mills Totino’s pizza overwrap

14. Hershey’s Twizzlers with FreshPak reclosable bag

15. hth Showpack pool chemical pouch

16. NFI/UPM Pharmaceuticals’ Lidocare Pain Relief Patch pouch

17. Redken Heatcure At-Home Self-Heating Mask sachet

18. Smart Mix Pro pouch

19. Starbucks Mexico Chiapas coffee bag


See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at PackEx Toronto 2017 (May 16-18; Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Register today!

About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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