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CupCan and CreaTin - Creative Design in Steel Cans

90938-nyhedsbrev_okt_w356_h23906_011_1260×1880.jpegFinally we are back in town and that it took so long is not only due to me recovering from a surgery, but also a switch in IT-platform Packaging Digest decided to execute. As usual an IT-switch doesn’t go smoothly and therefore various of my previous posts show some strange lay-outs, no pictures or other disturbances. I am confident that PD’s IT-people will solve these problems in due course.

In the meantime let’s start with a new item and see whether I can satisfy my readers, particularly the one, who wrote a comment saying: “There is nothing better than to go to your blog in the morning with a cup of coffee.” I hope it was not meant to be sarcastic.

90938-dobbelt_globe_w356_h239.jpgBack to business.
When the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called in its 2009 report “School Meals” for increasing the amount and variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with reducing saturated fat and sodium, the Canned Food Alliance jumped on the bandwagon and waved vigorously with a study of the University of California at Davis, that concludes that all forms of fruits and vegetables - canned, fresh and frozen - are nutritionally similar and contribute important nutrients that comprise a healthy diet.

The goal of this action of the Canned Food Alliance is obvious. Although steel cans belong to the select group of oldest and most trusted pillars of the packaging industry it is beyond discussion that the steel can, like glass and wood, lost considerable market share to the new developed packaging formats which claim to be lightweight and consumer friendly with sophisticated designs and printing options.
And indeed it should be said that in general the tin is, except for the decorated tins promoted as collectables, a dull packaging format, with its cylindrical shape and paper-wrapped label. Except for some printing, neither vegetables, not fruit and other food products are showcased in this packaging format worth the 21st century.

90938-genanvendelsesrate_232px.JPGAnd still steel is a material that is particularly suitable for food packaging due to its many different properties. Just to refresh the memory, a steel can or tin can, or just a tin, is a single-walled container moulded mostly by impact extrusion of tinplate or black plate (including tin-free steel). Tin plate has been replaced by tin-free steel which is given a tin coating, usually as thin as a human hair, to prevent rusting. Protective (plastic) coatings applied to the inside of the cans ensure the integrity of the contents, allowing tins to hold a wide variety of products.


The canning process does not require the use of preservatives; precise heating in the canning process and vacuum sealing maintain the quality, safety and integrity of the product. And then there is the sustainability, the ‘greenness’ of the tin. Tins are 100% recyclable - which means that there are no waste and waste substances in the recycling process as with plastics or paper/cardboard. And furthermore the latest figures from APEAL (the Association of European Producers of Steel for Packaging) show that 69% of steel packaging is recycled in Europe. This represents over 2.5 million tons of food and drinks cans and other steel containers, saving 4.8 million tons of CO2. Top performers were Belgium and Germany where more than 90% of steel packaging was recycled. Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands follow closely behind, recycling over 80% of their steel containers.
In other words recycling is second nature for steel as recycled materials are an essential part of the steelmaking process. Steel is one of that few materials that have an infinite recycling loop - it can be recycled over and over again without any loss of its inherent properties.

So, when it’s such a perfect packaging material, why are the results, the designs, so dull. Shape communicates instantly. Shape creates memorable and recognizable branding. It also offers upscale, sophisticated cues. Innovative, shapely designs support brand positioning. A complimentary high-resolution colour printing helps contemporize metal packaging and the products they contain. Where is the creativity in simple steel cans?

I have to be honest. There is some. In 2008, Silgan Containers Corp., the largest manufacturer of metal food cans in the United States, launched it’s shaped can manufacturing capability under the brand name “Sculptured Metal Technology”, in a move to provide increased value.

90938-cupcan2.jpgAnd fortunately there is more to come. In Europe the R&D department of the Danish can manufacturer Glud & Marstrand developed a range of shapely steel containers under the name CupCan and CreaTin with remarkable decorating results in off-set printing.

The CupCan range is launched in a 100 ml ø73×36 mm and a 150 ml ø83×40 mm size with easy-open lids and full panel opening. The CupCan has a conical shape which gives it a nice organic look. It fits well in the hand and will have great eye-catching effect on the shelves, enhancing its perceived product value. The can is therefore well suited for more exclusive or modern products.
The new conical can is stackable which means that it only takes up approximately one-quarter of the space required by the traditional straight walled can when being transported and stored.


CreaTin is a product range - with a lot of different opportunities - made in either ø73 mm or ø99 mm and are available in different heights and different shapes.

90938-creatin.jpgFor the CreaTin range G&M developed a technology which can expand cans into new and unconventional shapes, starting from two expanded cans in the standard selection, creating a unique can that results in an exceptional sales promoting package.

The Milk Can as shown in the picture above is made by making a ground design that supports the effect with a finishing combining different lacquering techniques. By combining glossy lacquers with matt surfaces Glud & Marstrand created a three-dimensional graphic effect that accentuates the milk streaming over the top of the can.

Printing on metal is approaching photographic quality. Sharp and beautiful colours make the product stand out from other products. Using various matt, glossy and texture lacquers create a special visual (e.g. crackle) and touch feel (e.g. velvet) effect.

90938-can2can_01_w356_h239.jpgAnd furthermore there is the proprietary “Can2Can” design - a plastic ring that makes it possible to combine various cans from the G&M assortment in one package - metal packaging expands to new application areas. A nice opportunity for co-promotion of products from various categories such as sweets and toys or various components for ready-meals.

With some creativity the steel can certainly has a bright future.
90341-image007.jpgThe Revival of the Tin Can - The Collectible as Marketing Tool - The tin’s history began in 1795 when Napoleon Bonaparte, who famously noted that an army “travels on its stomach”, offered a prize of 12,000 francs to anyone who could invent a method of preserving food. From a marketing point of view the tin container became a very popular collectible in the past and of which we see a revival lately. Read the full article.


Cultivated in Transit

71120-mit_yellow-oysters-side-resize.jpgLet’s have a look at one more futuristic vision in packaging. The vision departs from the supposition that convenience, and product difference - aspects that were the typical characteristics of food products in the last decade - are taking a backseat in a world now more focusing on making a positive impact on freshness, taste and health, as well as the sustainability of the planet.

Our obsession with fresh food irrespective of season and location fuels developments in extending their life after the moment of harvest until the point of consumption. Ripening is manipulated, and breathing is slowed down through refrigeration and modified atmospheric packaging. But these so-called post-harvest technologies are not only economically and ecologically expensive, they are essentially damage control measures that only slow down the eventual deterioration, which starts the instant a crop is removed from the ground or separated from its parent plant.

For the consumer produce must be fresh, full of texture, succulence and flavour - with the full complement of vitamins and minerals that can only come from natural food that is eaten at its best. Damage control management can’t avoid deterioration in freshness and texture, even worse it can’t avoid that a lot of waste in fresh produce goes around.

How do you solve that problem? Agata Jaworska, a masters graduate from the Design Academy Eindhoven (the Netherlands), designed a way to use the time and space associated with the supply chain to grow fresh produce. Her outspoken thesis (which by the way she wrote in 2007) demonstrates how design thinking can go beyond the operational level of packaging design.


But before we continue please note that the packaging-concept is futuristic, it is a model of how produce could be grown in the future. Nevertheless the concept is worth a serious consideration for further development, Here is the story:

If we enable growth along the way, then we automatically deliver absolute freshness and the consumer can harvest his own food. The result is systemised distribution with zero post-harvest preservation.

Her “Made In Transit” concept focuses on a new system of cultivating (oyster) mushrooms, where the growth is completely embedded in the distribution chain. With this idea one of the functions of the distribution chain, preventing degradation of the perishable product by means of refrigeration, is converted into an active role in the cultivation process with a consumer interaction by harvesting at the time of consumption. It not only creates a shift from “best before” to “harvest on”, but, more importantly, also bypasses harvest labour, which for mushrooms can account for 40% of the overall production cost.

In her thesis Jaworska points out that transportation is normally a dormant time for produce. The food becomes trapped inventory and a lot of energy must be spent keeping it fresh. This means that the distribution system must be fast and the environment must be cool. But freight trucks aren’t the least bit cool. In fact they generate a lot of warmth en route, and that warmth is just what a growing mushroom needs most aside from darkness. In the “Made in Transit” (personally I’d prefer to call it “Cultivated In Transit”) concept, the need to heat the cool environment of the traditional mushroom farm is eliminated and the warmth naturally produced by the transport vehicle is used to do the growing.

Of course the concept doesn’t apply equally to all commodities. Mushrooms, however, are highly perishable, relatively easy to grow and produce a fruit body that is fully edible. There are also varieties that currently cannot reach our supermarket shelves precisely because they are so perishable.
71120-agatajaworska-madeintransit-dae.jpgThe rice straw mushroom is one such example, with cultivation limited to China, Taiwan and Thailand. The rice straw mushroom begins to liquefy as soon as it is refrigerated and is currently only available in canned form.

The “Made In Transit” idea is not entirely new. We know early harvest of fruit and vegetables and ripening during the time the product ‘sits’ in the supply chain, that does not mean that the design and the thoughts of Agata Jaworska don’t deserve the necessary attention and further exploration.

Burning question is, which products are suitable for on-the-go cultivation and is it feasible to develop this concept further by incorporating combinations (partly on land or in the greenhouse, partly during transportation or storage). It will take a lot more research and development, before packaging trades in its conservation status for an active cultivation one. Yet it’s worth a try.

Cubis - ‘cubed' Innovative Beverage Bottles

91122-bild-29.jpgNotwithstanding the growing importance of cylindrical shaped aluminium cans, stand-up pouches with all types of fitments and rectangular Tetra Pak-like paperboard boxes, the most common packaging for beverages in the present world is the glass or plastic (mostly PET) bottle of various sizes and shapes, but always cylindrical and narrowing at the top to form an orifice from which the beverage can be drunk or poured.

All these types of beverage containers have certain positive and negative aspects. But all have the same problem with respect to the supply chain. Cylindrical containers prevent optimal use of the freight volume during transportation. This means that large volumes of space around the bottles and around the neck and shoulder go unused.

Design creativity never failed the beverage industry, but seldom led to an efficient and optimal use of transport and storage facilities in the supply chain or even an optimal use of the available space on the shelves in the supermarket aisles.

91122-cubis.jpgTo optimize the mentioned facilities a beverage bottle (or packaging in general) should be a rectangular cuboid (six rectangular faces), also called a rectangular hexahedron, or rectangular parallelepiped. And that’s exactly what Cubis, a Cyprian company in cooperation with the Swedish design studio ‘Love for Art and Business‘ came up with.

According to the website, Cubis Ltd is a team of engineers, designers and marketers committed to rethinking the beverage packaging industry through innovation and forward-thinking. Well, you can say, that they succeeded with the introduction of the Cubis plastic bottle.


The patented Cubis container is based on a square box shape and has a flip-top cap mounted in the upper corner. The result is a stackable and user-friendly container with a unique and exclusive look.
Albeit using environmentally friendly recycled material, and constantly evaluating new materials and recycling solutions, the biggest benefits for the environment probably comes from the fact that Cubis is more efficient in the supply chain, as three 25 cl Cubis containers stacked on top of each other occupy about the same space as a single conventional 50 cl PET bottle.

This translates in twice as many bottles on the shelf, so that retailers will benefit from a substantial increase in shelf value. For transportation it means one truckload instead of two and that reduces the o-so important CO2 emissions.

The Cubis beverage concept is protected by several international patents and design registrations, while, according to the company, licensing rights are offered to beverage producers and packaging manufacturers.

According to the company, market studies show a strong acceptance in all age groups and exclusively positive response from ages 10 to 20.

The Cubis containers can run on the existing filling, capping, labelling and packaging machinery, although some adaptations are to be made. The Cyprian company also settled for a cooperation with Formteknik Verktygs AB for the development of manufacturing tools and with Minab Pac, both in Sweden, for new filling machinery or adaptations of existing filling lines.

Conclusion: Cubis is an amazing packaging design concept. It is a stackable, flip-top plastic beverage container, usable with one hand, even by a toddler. Because of its cube shape, the Cubis increases shelf value by allowing far more product to be displayed in the same space.
The high volume efficiency of the cubed containers substantially reduces costs as well as carbon emissions by better space utilization during transportation and storage. Additional environmental benefits are gained from using readily recyclable plastic materials, like HDPE and PP, while the company states that development is ongoing for the use of renewable materials. And finally it can serve as a powerful marketing platform for the introduction of new brands and products.
80352-foto-04.jpgBio-based plastics can be defined as man-processed organic macromolecules derived from biological resources and used for plastic and fibre applications. Scientists at the Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development and Innovation recently published a study, titled: “Product overview and market projection of emerging bio-based plastics.”
The study presents the bio-based production routes, material properties, technical substitution potentials, applications today and tomorrow, emerging producers and wherever possible, costs. ….. more

Chocolate Fondue in 2 minutes

90806-fondue-garoto2.jpgFinally the holiday season is coming up. Although Christmas time is a period to contemplate, appreciate and relax, after a very stressful and for some depressing year, it is at the same time a period with countless home celebrations and festive get-togethers. It’s always a good idea to include a designated driver as part of the party planning. What’s better then enjoy chocolate to calm the nerves and get back to normal.

Chocolate is a product of the cocoa tree, also called the tree-of-life. Chocolate is an effective tonic, euphoric and anti-depressant due to the endorphins. The scent of cocoa in aroma-therapy, is suggested to people who are depressed, lethargic and anorexic. Its deep brown colour and sensual and pleasing aroma induce individuals to return their attention to their neglected psychophysical needs. It is recommended for those who can not appreciate the pleasures of life due to an uncompromising seriousness. It is common knowledge that chocolate is a substitute for sexual pleasure, as some chemical ingredients induce well-being and contain the aggressive impulses of passion, influencing the mental or psychological aspects of sex-fantasies and emotional sensitivity.

So what do you want more for the holidays?

Thanks to Garoto, Brazil’s No. 1 chocolate manufacturer, you can organise a chocolate fondue during the holidays. No need to buy the ingredients, to follow faithfully the Swiss recipe or to spend time in the kitchen. Garoto launched a limited edition of ready-to-enjoy chocolate fondue, which delicacy just needs 2 minutes in the microwave, thanks to a functional packaging.

The bowl, supplied by Interject, is made of polypropylene (PP) known for its high thermal resistance - its melting point is around 165°C (329°F). To prepare the fondue, the consumer removes the shrink film and cap that close the bowl, and heats the product in two sessions of 1 minute in the microwave, using the interval to stir the content. To prepare the fondue ‘à bain-marie’, the consumer should pour the chocolate into a metal or glass container, as the low thermal conductivity of PP would delay the heating in the bowl itself. Each bowl contains 400 grams, enough to serve six people.
As decoration, the bowl got a self-adhesive label, made by Mack Color on special paper with a low amount of water molecules to avoid the risk of combustion, as microwaves heat up food by agitation of said molecules.FutureBrand BC & H, which was responsible for the graphic design of the label, also designed the carton sleeve for presentation of the product at the point of sale. This sleeve with its sides folded inwards to secure the position of the bowl, was converted by Brasilgrafica using TP Premium cardboard from Suzano. Offset-printed in six-colours, while the Garoto logo, the product name and the fruit images that make up the graphic design are in relief. Water-based varnishes were used and the preparation instructions, situated on the sides of the sleeve, are printed in gold

90532-verstegen-candlelight-sauce.jpgAlthough a beautiful solution there is one thing that frustrates me. The instructions of Garoto say, that in case no réchaud (hot plate) is used to keep the chocolate fondue at temperature, they recommend to constantly reheat the chocolate in the microwave if it is not consumed quickly.

It’s really a pity that Garoto didn’t continue its development. They state that they ran tests in cooperation with plastic converter Interject to determine the appropriate wall thickness for the bowl to prevent deformation during microwave heating. They also included their concern that the surface of the packaging should not reach a temperature above 110°C, which could cause injury to consumers. But where is the réchaud, when you create a plastic bowl suitable for that heat? It’s too simple to instruct the consumer to run back and forth to the microwave.

90532-verstegen-candle-sauce-bowl.jpgLook at what Verstegen, a manufacturer of condiments in the Netherlands, did. They realised that their ready-to-eat sauces should cool off during diner and included a small réchaud with the sauce bowl. Their Candlelight Pepersaus (pepper sauce) comes in an aluminium bowl topped with a three-legged plastic tray, that can be placed over a lit candle as the base tray incorporates an injection-moulded, press-on overcap that houses a tea light. The bowl top is shaped so that once the sauce is heated, it can sit in the tray over the candle, which keeps the sauce warm.

An ideal solution for Garoto Chocolate Fondue, as in the southern hemisphere it’s summer and you like to sit outside in your garden to enjoy a fondue party.
80221-naturespride-1.jpgOne of the main drivers to develop bio-based plastics is the goal to provide the market with biodegradable plastics, in order to solve the problem of rapidly increasing amounts of waste and limited landfill capacities. Although in some densely populated industrialized countries with limited landfill capacity, waste is nowadays primarily disposed off in municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) plants, plastics are increasingly polluting nature and …. read Part 2 of “The Promising Potential of Bio-based Plastics“.

IML and High-Speed Thin-Wall Technology

91107-beck-thin-wall-iml-cup02.JPGWhere “injection moulding” is concerned, it is the international trade fair for plastics processing Fakuma in Friedrichshafen/Germany where the experts meet. For years now, it’s ranked as one of the leading plastics trade forums, this year held in October.

And that was the place where Beck Automation AG introduced its new IML high-speed thin-wall technology. For the first time Beck labelled transparent polystyrene (PS) thin wall cups with a 3.3 seconds cycle time per shot for 4 cups.

For those, who are not familiar with the IML-technology follow this link to my Packaging Dictionary, it includes production diagrams.

91107-beck-thin-wall-iml-cup01.JPGBeck Automation AG in Oberengstringen (Switzerland) is among the leading providers for IML (in-mould-labelling) automation solutions in the injection moulding industry, specialized in decorating/labelling lids, cups, bowls and buckets in various industrial areas.

The automations high speed is a result from the interaction of a manufacturing cell consisting of an Engel speed 180/55 (Schwertberg/Austria) injection moulding machine and a hot runner mould from Glaroform (Näfels/Switzerland). The 4 cavity mould from Glaroform loads the Engel machine with a shot weight of 41 g. With a wall thickness of 0,5mm, each thin-wall cup has a net weight of 10.25 g. By means of a side handling, Beck Automation takes out the completed cup and simultaneously places the labels for the new to blow cups.

91107-beck-thin-wall-iml-cup03.JPGApart from the phenomenal speed of 3.3 sec. cycle time, the final result is impressive, as the labels from Viappiani (Segrate/Italy) obtain, through their perfect geometry and precise application at this high speed, an astonishing convincing look.

The novelty is the in-mould-labelling of a thin-walled clear transparent PS cup. These cups are used in large numbers by airline companies. Through the label, the airlines can discreetly communicate with the passenger while the content can attractively be presented.


“Taste of Echt” in a Corrugated Cardboard Beer Crate

In contrary to the brown 330 ml longneck bottle the bulk of the Dutch beer for consumption at home is offered in a standard refillable 30 cl brown glass bottle, nicknamed a ‘pipe’. The content of 30 cl bottle is different from all international sizes.

The bottles were introduced in 1986 and are 30% lighter in weight than the previous generation. They are refundable (€ 0,10/bottle = USD 0,14) and returned to any brewery where they can be refilled up to sixty times. The beer bottles can be used and refilled by all breweries operating in the Dutch market, providing tremendous benefits in logistics. The Central Brewery Office (the brewers’ trade association) owns the design rights to this standard Dutch beer bottle.
New returnable bottles are made from up to 65% recycled glass.

In the supermarkets and other sales outlets the beer bottles sit in returnable heavy duty plastic crates with 12 or 24 bottles. Dutchmen typically buy a crate to bring home and return the crate with the empty bottles to the store. Any store.

Four characteristic small old family-owned Dutch beer brewers decided to enter into an alliance to market their speciality beers together. To commemorate this alliance they commissioned BooM Packaging, an agency specialized in brand and packaging design, to develop a unique brand and structural packaging design for 12 bottles of beer. The design needed to meet the marketing communication values: heritage, authenticity, small business, inspiration and experience.

BooM Packaging developed a shared identity and gift packaging for the four independent Dutch family breweries, underlining the character of the brewers and their unique beers. The gift case, a beer crate made from corrugated cardboard, holds 4 x 3 bottles of “Smaak van Echt” (Taste of Echt) beer, provides a beer glass, four “Taste of Echt” coasters, a booklet with background information and stories of the brewers. The crate also holds a bottle partition, a cardboard sleet with 13 holes (12 bottles and one glass). See the photo of the billboard, on top of the stack you can see the inside of the crate.
A successful combination of brand and packaging design with the benefit of eco-friendliness in regard to the small carbon footprint of the natural and renewable materials used for the corrugated cardboard crate.

With passion for beer, which has been transferred generation upon generation with respect for the people and their surroundings, each brew master, developed a unique recipe for the “Taste of Echt” marketing campaign.

You also like to know something about the four ‘genuine’ new brews. Here they come:
Alfa Brewery chose with Alfa Echt 2009 for a strong beer with the colour of a sunny summer day. The beer is velvety with an insidious invitation to drink more. Insidious as it has 8% alcohol.

The Budelse Brewery opted for an even stronger beer. With 8.5% alcohol Budels Echt 2009 is the strongest of the quartet. The beer is dark in colour and made of organic barley. A typical tasty beer to be enjoyed at the end of the evening.

Gulpener brewed the most accessible beer. The brewery was inspired by the Bavarian Märzenbier. Originally, this beer is brewed in the spring to quench the summer thirst. Gulpener Echt 2009 is an amber beer with a pleasant spiciness, an attractive bitter. With 6.5% it is a fine beer for an evening drink.

The top of spiciness can be found in Lindeboom Echt 2009. Like the Märzen, the beer has an amber colouring, but is slightly stronger. The brew master not only made use of four different hops, but also used a special herbal blend.

The result: A beer crate, made from corrugated cardboard, with four unique beers creating a maximum gift experience. And not only that. The crates create an imposing billboard in the store.

After drinking beer, a pint of milk recovers the body, as the saying goes. Milk in the US is distributed in large plastic bottles. Let’s have a look at the innovations recently introduced in the UK, where the dairy industry is forced, by consumers and law, to dramatically reduce the packaging waste . .. read the full article: “Milk in a Pouch – Innovative and Sustainable

Recharging Body, Mind and Soul

Beverage manufacturers are clamouring for a share in the energy drinks market recently enhanced with the newly created one-shot drinks, which promise super-healthy premiums and are attracting older consumers to the category.

As one-shot drinks are winning over consumers, the ordinary energy drinks are facing the same category fatigue that has blighted the whole segments of the beverage industry such as bottled water and carbonated drinks. The reason is simple: consumers have to get the functional ‘kick’ from an energy drink by having to consume a drink that tastes relatively unappealing as if it was an ordinary soda-pop.

Except when you have an iron-strong brand, like Red Bull, with US sales of about USD 700m and a 65 percent share of the energy drinks market, or Burn from Coca Cola, you have to find a way to attract the consumer, appeal to them and show them your are not the ordinary energized soda-pop in a can.

By using a light bulb-shaped bottle, it visually communicates the idea of “Glowing and Healthy”, representing energy, something that can light-up-your-life.

According to the manufacturer, “Gloji is a new kind of juice ….. a new kind of power, an exciting kind of energy and an unparalleled commitment to health. From the moment you raise this light bulb shaped bottle to your lips you can feel yourself light up, like someone has flipped a switch inside your body. With every sip you will glow brighter with a radiance that comes from a recharged feeling that only a berry as special as the Goji Berry can deliver.”

Since ancient times, Goji berries, harvested from the Tibetan Plateau, “The Roof of the World”, have been known to maintain a balance of Yin & Yang within the entire body, helping to insure a consistent and even flow of vital energy and most importantly, nourish the precious essential Chi.

This innovative 11 oz (325 ml) bottle, shaped exactly like an incandescent filament light bulb, designed by Peter Kao, is made from high white/low-iron glass with the front panel with a gold/silver plated decoration applied by heat transfer, differentiates the product on the shelves. The product details, ingredients and nutrition information are silk-screened onto the back of the bottle. The product is flash pasteurized, contains no preservatives, no sugar or colouring agents.

Seldom one sees a packaging design so perfectly positioning a product. In general the designer tries to convey the message of the product - but does not always succeeds fully, resulting in an extensive need for package graphics or language to convey the benefits.
The designer of the Gloji light bulb, though, has done an excellent job by using shape and form to convey what the product and its benefits is about. The product name suffice, virtually no other information is needed.

The Quad-Bag-In-Box

On my blog “Best In Packaging” I recently posted various articles about wine in Bag-in-Box, one of the fast moving packaging formats in the wine industry. To be sturdy a Bag-in-Box system generally has to consist of a heavy duty outer box to hold the pillow inner bag which tends to cause undue pressure on the outer box.

Some years ago, Elite Packaging in the UK, developed a gusseted bag, which is sealed in each corner of the bag. The advantage of this new and revolutionary design is that the bag becomes more stable, is more-or-less square and sits better and more efficient in a cardboard box. It forms a cubic shape when filled and its unique structure ensures minimal lateral bulge. The Quad Bag (2 words) was born. Felton Packaging introduced in 2007 the Quad-Bag-In-Box to Premier Foods’ Sarsons Vinegar in the UK for its 20 litres malt vinegar.

Up till recently the Quad Bag only has been used for larger volumes, i.e. somewhere around 20 litres and more, but times are changing.

Quadbag (one word) is the trade name of a brand new Bag-in-Box system from SCA Packaging in Sweden. The name hints that a bag fills all the way out into the corners using the box’s whole volume. The Quadbag is a self-supporting solution, which minimises the risk of the box becoming swollen. The chance of “chubby” boxes is avoided even if the corrugated cardboard packaging is made of a thinner material than usual.

The quadrangular QuadBag is designed in a way which makes it possible to empty out the bag. This is one of its main advantages over Bag-in-Box applications with a pillow bag which always leave a small amount of liquid in the bag. Tearing up the corrugated cardboard box in order to squeeze the last few precious drops out of the packaging is now history.

It is available in a variety of bags sizes and liners, in combination with different pumps, and is easily adaptable to standard filling machines. Environmentally, the Quadbag uses less packaging material and once the packaging is empty, the box and the bag can easily be divided and both parts are fully recyclable.
The smooth printing surface of the Quadbag provides an excellent branding medium to make the product stand out at point of sale.

Why do I indicate in my text: one word and two words. Well, if the SCA Quadbag comes to America there might be a small problem with the name. Although the word “quad” signifies: A rectangular object surrounded on all sides, a google-search of the word ‘quadbag’ gives as one of the first hits the Urban Dictionary, defining ‘quadbag’ as “when four people simultaneously t-bag one person at the same time.” The Urban Dictionary giving more details, I can’t quote here. Definitely not a welcome trademark.

Artfully ‘Green’ Packages for Fresh Greens - Designed to protect each product as well as the environment, the new packages adopted by Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods Inc. and Earthbound Farm are almost as “green” as the products themselves. One claims that its living lettuce is “so beautiful, that it comes with a bodyguard,” i.e. a new, custom-designed scalloped clamshell for Artisan Lettuce, the other is completely different as the company decided to switch to 100% PCR PET. …. read the full article.

Creativity with Cardboard

Some 60 design students at the Université de Reims (IUT) took part in Korsnäs’ Packaging Impact Design Award 2009 competition in mid-May, resulting in an impressive exhibition of packaging and displays.

Since 1994, Korsnäs (formerly Frövi) has been arranging design competitions for students with a focus on packaging design. In conjunction with the Swedish Year of Design 2005, when the Swedish government was actively promoting design projects, PIDA (Packaging Impact Design Award) was born and several universities became involved. Spurred on by popularity, the competition has grown and is held in Sweden, Germany and France. In the UK, Korsnäs collaborates with Marks & Spencer in sponsoring a category of the Student Starpack Award.

The 2009 competition in France was closely fought, with many very high quality entries. The first prize, designed by Julie Chevalier, Marine Le Noach and Joseph Simonutti, went to a cosmetics concept with a display that wasn’t much bigger than the pack, but which combined dramatic impact with a high “wow factor”.

For its 2009 French edition Korsnäs asked students of the IUT in Reims - Packaging Engineering and Packaging Design - “to create a package and its display, all in harmony, able to persuade consumers to open their wallets.” The challenge, to create both a pack and a display for an imaginary chocolate or cosmetic brand, was based on the insight that consumers make most purchasing decisions in the shop, and that is where they can be influenced.

The results reflected the creative dimension of the students who had to work with Korsnäs White. The first prize was awarded to “Beauty Care”, created by Julie Chevalier, Marine Le Noach and Joseph Simonutti. A display that wasn’t much bigger than the pack, but which combined dramatic impact with a high “wow factor”, It highlights the jar of cream which sits in the hollow-points enhancing the flexibility of the board through its very stylized cuttings. The second prize was won by Geraldine Beauvais, Lise Marecat and Axel Levert for “Oya, the art of chocolate”. Their creation highlights another way of consuming chocolate.

The 2009 meeting gave Korsnäs also an opportunity to highlight its cardboard made from renewable raw materials from the Swedish forest (75 to 80%). The company is certified with ISO 14001 since 1997. And today, it supplies FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified products and under the PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) schemes. This means the establishment of a traceability system.

The packaging is plantable! Out of the box and into the garden, The moulded fibre box is the first of its kind. A 100% compostable, biodegradable and plantable product packaging. It is manufactured with zero waste and created from 100% post-consumer paper board, without glues and dies. Soak the box for one minute and plant it about 1” deep in soil. Before you know it, medicinal herbs will spring up right before your eyes!
EcoPak and Ecocentric - What’s in a Name? ….. Read the full article

Pop Goes the Popcorn - the Pop-Up Popcorn Bowl

Popcorn is typically packed in a bag which is partially folded to enables it to inflate, as a result of steam pressure from the heated kernels, when placed in a microwave.

It is an area where innovation is almost unknown, although recently McCain introduced its McCain Popcorn Potatoes intended for microwave preparation, packed in a heat-sealable, 48-gauge polyethylene terephthalate (PET)/ink/pattern adhesive/25-lb paper/adhesive/pattern susceptor/heat-sealable, 48-gauge PET lamination, converted by Graphic Packaging to create the first cook-in package of its kind with eight-color printing and a lap seal. The structure of the cook-in package features a patterned QuiltWave lamination as well as a metallised susceptor grid tuned to the potato product to ensure perfect heating and browning in the microwave without scorching the packaging material.

The problem with ‘popcorn bags’ is that the consumer still has to transfer that heated all buttery, salty snack onto a separate serving dish for consumption.

UK retailer Marks & Spencer invited design students to explore the field of children’s packaging. Furthermore, the design had to take into account the environmental impact of packaging and child safety, and still be functional both for the consumer and for the producer and retailer.

The result was an ingenious popcorn pack, designed by Anni Nykänen, a student at the Lahti Institute of Design in Finland.

The design has visual impact which is heightened by the transformation of the pack shape as the contents are heated in the microwave and expand. The concept utilises the cardboard (Korsnäs White) characteristics of strength and formability, plus the ability to have direct contact with the food contents because of the purity of the board. The space saving design provides for efficient transportation and distribution (environmental considerations) combined with effective use of shelf space and an appealing concept for young consumers to try it.

A beautiful sculptural concept whereby the designer has something so mundane and lacking innovation reinvented into an object of beauty that one could even serve straight out of the package. That’s right. The Pop-Up Popcorn Bowl transforms itself automatically into a nice four-legged bowl when the popcorn is ready to be served, after being a small package which holds the kernels.

Apparently the Lahti Institute of Design in Finland creates a bunch of promising design students as it submitted 45 entries and walked away with 28 awards.
About 10 percent of the packaging in stores serves no useful purpose. It doesn’t protect the product. It doesn’t improve the customer experience. It doesn’t do anything. It’s only in there because no one engineered it out.
The traditional paradigm of focusing solely on physical prototypes no longer makes sense. It’s a very expensive and time-consuming process and it isn’t the best way to determine if a product is fit for use. The answer is …. read the full article "Virtual Design Takes off at Procter & Gamble."