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Invention increases the shelf appeal of bagged packaging

Invention increases the shelf appeal of bagged packaging
The Package Pillar is made of clear plastic with adhesive strips.

Untidy shelf displays are a turn off for consumers. A new take on Retail-Ready Packaging is the Package Pillar, a yet-to-be-commercial concept that promises to straighten out the messiness that often accompanies bagged retail packages to keep shelf displays tidy for consumers, brand owners and retailers.

Messy displays of bagged products, such as candy and cereal, can be a thing of the past with a new product revealed in a recent patent application. The Package Pillar is a device with a mild, reusable adhesive that holds bagged products neatly as each bag is selected from a stack and can also reduce the labor needed to replenish the shelves. 

“I was inspired to make this device when I saw a store clerk struggle to create a neat stack of slick bags of candy, one stack next to the other,” says inventor Steve Maginas.  “The store wanted its bagged candies to fill their shelves both horizontally and vertically, so the customers would see a wall of bright colors.  But whenever customers pulled bags off the shelf the stack would be pushed a little out of line, eventually needing to be straightened up again.”

On a shelf only a little force is needed to keep the bags from sliding off of the stack, since gravity does most of the work of keeping them in place.  Also, there’s a need to keep the shelves attractive even when some products are depleted.

The Package Pillar has just enough adhesive to keep slick bags in place. Even after the bags are purchased, the vertical portion displays the product logo until staff can replenish it.  Brand owners are not left with empty gaps on shelves when staff is too busy to restock.

“Since only minimal lateral support is needed for packages to be kept in a neat stack, the Package Pillar can be made of thin, yet rigid PET or other thermoplastic," Maginas says.  "The adhesive surfaces have to be strong enough to hold the bags in place, but not so strong as to damage printing on the package surface.  This can be done with commercially available repositionable spray adhesives, placed so as to provide increasing adhesion for the bags higher in the stack.”

The entire stack of bagged foods needs to stay in place when a bag is selected to keep the display uniformly neat.  That is achieved by adhesive on the bottom of the device, which is exposed by removal of non-stick backing papers when the device is first placed on the shelf.  The adhesive on the bottom is stronger than that holding bags in place, so when the final bag is removed the device remains in place. 

“The Package Pillar can replace the corrugated case for shipping as well as for display,” Maginas claims, “to reduce shipping costs and making the product more sustainable.”  Bagged products can be placed in the Package Pillar at the factory, each unit shrink-wrapped, and the shrink-wrapped units sent to retailers in flexible, reusable fiber-reinforced paper bags, made of materials such as Tyvek.  “The rigidity of the device would sufficiently protect the product and perform double duty as the display support as soon as the wrapping is removed by the retailer,” Maginas notes. 

Costs and options

Maginas says that the cost of this device depends on the size of the packages to be held.  “For packages that hold about 8oz of candy, for example, I estimate the cost is from $0.15 to $0.25 per unit. "

He says the innovation can be manufactured using available machinery to print, fold the material and apply an adhesive. For cost estimation, he went to Alibaba.com and found bulk quotes for packaging products that did include those elements.  His estimated cost of $0.15 to $0.25 per 8 inch X 8 inch unit is based on prices at that website.  “The device is reusable since the adhesive is long-lasting and does not dry out quickly,” he adds.

While he developed it for candy packaging in mind, this device can be scaled up to hold and display larger packages, Maginas reports.  To do so would require the device to have a thicker structure and perhaps a stronger adhesive. The prototype at the website is about 14 mils (0.36 mm) thick.  For example, a larger device can hold cereal bags vertically stacked, or if placed sideways it can hold potato chip bags standing vertically.

Further improvements in inventory control can be made by adding a light-sensitive RFID sensor.  That can be activated by removal of the bags, signaling the retailer or manufacturer to replenish the shelf and transmitting immediate data of the sales.

The non-provisional patent application number is #14023492.  It is published and available at the USPTO website, including the drawings. A prototype can be seen at the www.packagepillar.com website, which is the easiest way to gain access to the application.

After completing the non-provisional patent application and the website, he submitted the invention to candy and cereal manufacturers. To prepare for those submissions, he toured retail candy stores in the Chicago area, which he reports was “was fun and eye-opening.  They make extensive use of inexpensive flexible packaging, and the stores demonstrate a desire for tidy displays.  A lot of effort is put into aligning their candies and making their displays attractive.  Potato chip makers have their delivery people keep the displayed bags in neat alignment, but I suspect the method of distribution and profit margins on candy don’t make that a feasible approach.”

Several of those manufacturers have asked for further information to be submitted, and some have responded that they are not interested. His next step is to approach larger retailers, and then manufacturers of retail displays, consumer packaged goods, and shipping products. 

“I will be submitting this device for licensing to retailers and others,” he says.  “It takes on average about two years for a patent to be granted.  If no strong interest is expressed by those entities, I plan to prepare numerous prototypes and ask local retailers to try them on their shelves as a field test of the product.  At the same time I will be improving my website since communications on this device will then be made to a broader audience.”

Lessons learned and advice to others

What’s his biggest hurdle to commercialization? “I only know what I can read about the packaging industry, and I am not working with the support of any organization,” he responds. 

We asked him what lessons learned he can share.

This is my second patent application,” he states. “I’ve found that the greatest benefit of the patent process is that the online USPTO.gov website is a treasure-trove of ideas. Ideas for products on that site include not just current patents but also rejected applications and expired patents. 

“However, while in the past they may have not seemed worth developing, now due to new technologies some of those ideas may be newly feasible and useful to the industry.  Most patent applications are from persons with expertise in particular industries, so reviewing that website helps you see further by standing on the shoulders of experts.  The USPTO process is online for searches and applications, so that the usual glitches of using online resources are present.  But overall, with a little patience the value of the patent information is much greater than the drawbacks.

“It seems that companies who provide a channel to submit new product ideas are more comfortable when a patent application has been made, so the scope of the idea is clearly defined.  Of course, even apart from the costs involved, not every new product would benefit from having a patent granted, especially if making the product involves proprietary information that you would not want to reveal to the world.  The Package Pillar is the opposite and would benefit from a patent, since it is a device with parts that are obvious but where those parts are made to work together in an unexpected fashion.

“This innovation is, in summary, an inexpensive replacement for cartons and other disorganized containers for products in flexible packaging.  Together with shrink wrapping, it can also provide security for shipping the product as well as a display format that enhances already developed product packaging.”

A food packaging safety checklist for incoming materials

A food packaging safety checklist for incoming materials

At the very least, documentation for incoming packaging materials requires you to create a custom vendor/supplier disclosure form, the mechanism for obtaining component manufacturing disclosure and documentation.

Performing Step One as noted in the previous column, Food packaging safety: Risk identification, prioritization and response, must be complemented by Step Two: Obtaining adequate documentation.

At the very least, this requires you, the customer, to create a custom vendor/supplier disclosure form, the mechanism for obtaining component manufacturing disclosure and documentation. Regardless of what category the item is, as the next handler or user in the chain of supply, safety and suitability must be assessed.  Signed certificates (including allergens and contaminants, guarantees, compliances, regulatory, suitability, etc.) from your vendors are all required components of the documentation packet, but in the event of a crisis, you may need to prove diligence and awareness.  Assessing what you need to do to demonstrate diligence begins with requesting full custom disclosure of details from your vendors and suppliers and then reviewing and accepting the content, or as is more likely, reaching out to the vendor and requesting those items that were omitted or not properly prepared.

Review the content and format of each vendor disclosure document as if it were undergoing legal review; in the event of litigation or legal action, it will be reviewed by many professional eyes.  The primary benchmarks that the intake reviewer needs to consider during the review process is, “does this document represent or demonstrate diligence and accurate disclosure? When subjected to professional scrutinies, does it, within reason, function as protection for the corporation, or is it incomplete and dysfunctional”? 

Conclude, again, that lack of full and complete vendor disclosure (without the vendor risking genuinely valuable IP and trade secrets) transfers the risk to you in the event of a safety crisis.

Incoming materials risk mitigation and control

After the risk analysis team reviews the completed risk profile for each item, category or process in hand, including documentation, the next step is to determining how to eliminate, minimize or control that risk.  Best practices suggest or require (depending upon your products and their use) that one or more persons on the risk mitigation team be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) trained, in order to streamline and integrate the process of identifying, evaluating and controlling risk to food safety.  Not all risks involve harm to human safety, and a trained Quality Process and HACCP practitioner is most appropriately positioned to identify, categorize, prioritize and mitigate risks using HACCP plans, prerequisite plans or “other.” 

You, the readers of this column, represent a broad gamut of links in the supply chain.  Execution of risk identification and mitigation processes can vary by function (i.e. raw material supplier, converter, contract manufacturer, marketer, etc.) within the chain. Suffice it to say, though, risk assessment, if followed by effective mitigation and control, is best executed by professionals. The process begins with recognition or application of an effective, practical and comprehensive food safety program (GFSI or equivalent) complemented by one or more representatives (internal or consulting) adequately trained at the practitioner or subject-matter expert level, and who has the responsibility and authority to apply the precepts of food safety accordingly.  We will address and discuss additional risk priority categories in future installments of the column.

Next time:   Suggestions for risk response and control

 

Gary Kestenbaum has 40 years’ experience in the food and packaging industries, six as a supplier with National Starch, 18 as a product developer with General/Kraft Foods and 15 as a packaging engineer and developer with Kraft. In his current position as Senior Food Packaging Safety Consultant with EHA Consulting Group, Kestenbaum provides guidance on packaging safety and suitability-related projects for raw material manufacturers, converters and associated supporting professionals. He can be reached at gkestenbaum@ehagroup.com or 410-484-9133. The website is www.ehagroup.com.

Is a sea change ahead in packaged food traceability?

Is a sea change ahead in packaged food traceability?
After implementing a traceability program leveraging GS1 Standards, Mother Earth Mushrooms realized “huge” improvements in their inventory management.

GS1 US discloses 5 major industry stakeholders representing a variety of seafood sources and processing methods that were selected for Proof of Concept, a small exercise to investigate and assess the current state of seafood traceability data.

Angela Fernandez, vice president of retail grocery and foodservice, identifies stakeholders and a brand owner with a food traceability program in Part 2 of our interview with GS1 US (see Part 1, An update on traceability for packaged foods from GS1 US). She also explains why track-and-trace is gaining traction in these markets.

Can you point to companies being proactive in track-and-trace or that have conducted a pilot?

Fernandez: Our team recently worked with the seafood industry to complete a Proof of Concept, a small exercise to investigate and assess the current state of seafood traceability data. A summary of the project is now available on our website.

Five major industry stakeholders representing a variety of seafood sources and processing methods were selected for this project. They are: Trident Seafoods, Bumble Bee Foods, High Liner Foods, Sea Port Products Corp. and Slade Gorton. Participants discovered their individual traceability programs did not align seamlessly and they were able to identify gaps in the way data was captured and shared. They all agreed that a standards based approach is essential for supply chain visibility.

Moving forward, the group will collaborate to define sustainability attributes, format electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions and will test and seek proof of data interpretation outside their own organizations during Phase 2 of the Proof of Concept in 2015.

We work with suppliers all the time who are very aware of the serious consequences without end-to-end traceability. Having precise, accurate traceability has the potential to reduce labor costs internally and externally, avoid category-wide fear of foodborne illnesses among consumers. A good example of a brand owner being proactive is Mother Earth Mushrooms, which recently implemented a traceability program leveraging GS1 Standards. The improvements in their inventory management have been huge. Their old system was based on outdated, manual procedures that were exceedingly labor intensive and potentially inaccurate. What once took hours sifting through paper and deciphering handwriting, now takes just a few minutes with the new product traceability system reports available with just a few clicks.

Mother Earth now has a real-time inventory of raw product received, which farm it originated from, and a final count of inventory. Also because the company sells not just to distributors, but also directly to restaurants and grocery chains, its across-the-board system is easy to manage. In addition to being well equipped to handle a recall, it is now able to fill orders quicker and has improved its overall operational efficiency.

Is there a particular packaged food segment that's especially “ripe” for traceability?

Fernandez: We are finding that interoperability between different, but related product categories is an area of untapped potential. For example, the Produce Traceability Initiative focuses tracking and tracing fresh foods like tomatoes. With better traceability procedures in place to identify, capture and share information about the tomato’s journey along the supply chain, GS1 Standards can better serve a CPG company that manufactures tomato sauce, for example. When all trading partners are able to share Key Data Elements (KDE) at Critical Tracking Events (CTE) for their product’s life cycle, everyone benefits from these central components of integrated traceability. What we mean by “integrated traceability” is the idea that all product categories (produce, seafood, CPG, etc.) can leverage GS1 Standards to enhance their traceability processes, enabling better communication and streamlined operations. Having an integrated approach in retail grocery and foodservice has powerful financial value for stakeholders.

To break it down even further, CTEs are those points along the supply chain where product is transformed or ownership changes to allow for the recording of key product data to enable effective tracing of the product. They include points where the product changes hands from one supply chain participant to another, where product is moved between premises or is transformed in some way.

KDEs contain information collected at each event (CTE). To enable product traceability, these key data elements answer the questions “what, when, where and why” in support of each event. They include things like original source ID (i.e. farm), harvest date, ship date, destination ID, case or pallet ID and recipient date.

These concepts provide a solid foundation for an integrated whole-chain traceability process, and complete implementation will benefit the entire supply chain. Whole-chain traceability is the combination of internal and external traceability processes, meaning a company’s internal data and processes used within their own operations to track a product is integrated into a larger system of external data exchange and business processes that take place between trading partners.

Both processes are needed to effectively trace product up and down the supply chain. Organizations that fully embrace these processes based on the “identify, capture, share” principles of GS1 Standards, which enable for interoperability, reap the benefits of enhanced efficiencies and improved consumer trust.

What would need to happen to provide a “tipping point” for traceability adaption for foods?

Fernandez: We believe we are approaching the tipping point because this is such a critical time of rapid evolution. The real tipping point is anticipated to be when the proposed rules for traceability under the Food Safety Modernization Act are issued and finalized, however we feel that the GS1 US Retail Grocery Initiative formation this year shows an urgent need for collaboration on traceability issues like we’ve never seen before.

Ultimately, food safety drives urgency. Recent commodity recalls are still fresh in consumers’ minds. Businesses are vividly aware of how these emergencies can hurt the entire category for months or years afterward.

Examples of significant recalls in recent years include:

  • 2006 spinach recall cost the spinach industry $37 to $74 million in immediate economic losses, and $350 million in the year following the recall
  • A mistaken 2007 Salmonella finding in tomatoes cost Florida’s tomato industry $500 million
  • 2009 Salmonella outbreak in peanut butter cost U.S. peanut producers $1 billion
  • German bean sprout crisis in May 2011 triggered a consumer panic in Europe and was estimated to have cost farmers $244 million a week
  • Listeria-infected cantaloupe recall in September 2011 caused hundreds of illnesses and 30 deaths

Even if a company has not been linked to a food safety emergency before, it is sound business strategy to be well prepared for product withdrawals or recalls. An electronic, standards-based system will allow companies to precisely track where products go once they leave their possession, limiting the impact of any food emergency. Consumers need to be confident that the industry is able to isolate only the affected product quickly and efficiently—the industry is pulling together to reassure their customers of their ability to protect them.  

Pet food packaging recognized for innovation

Pet food packaging recognized for innovation

The Honest Kitchen, an all-natural dog and cat food brand, has received an Innovation Award from Petfood 2.0 for its new and improved sustainable packaging which is recyclable and made from post-consumer material.

The company partnered with the team at Bulldog Drummond, as well as with the artist Natalya Zahn, to create its new look.

The new packaging design for the human grade pet food depicts hand-painted artwork of the company's whole-food ingredients and shadowed versions of actual employees' pets.

The Petfood 2.0 Innovation Awards is a year-long program designed to celebrate companies demonstrating innovative, disruptive thinking across the formulation, distribution and packaging segments of the pet food market.

Packaging Digest got exclusive details on the packaging design from Lucy Postins, founder & CEO, The Honest Kitchen.

What is the motivation behind The Honest Kitchen’s packaging revamp?

Postins: We wanted to re-design our packaging to make it more intuitive for customers. Following some insights work, we wanted to make the protein in the recipe the main headline, so we minimized the product names and brought the protein in the recipe, front and center. This makes it much easier for shoppers to select a recipe from within our expanding product line. We also used color coding to group recipes into families by protein, and used a white box for grain-free diets and a cream background box for whole-grain diets. We also wanted to help consumers understand how easy it is to make the food, so we added the icon ‘Just add water’ on the front of the box as a visual cue.

What sort of trends did you consider when developing your new packaging?

Postins: We take our inspiration from human food packaging trends and our box is loosely based on the format for breakfast cereal packaging. Our packaging is also eco-friendly.

What changes did you make to the packaging that makes it more visually appealing?

Postins: We wanted a design that was very approachable, elegant and that also felt ‘foodie’. The hand-painted ingredients on the front evoke a culinary feel and the paintings of our office dogs makes it feel friendly and welcoming.

What were the key goals and requirements from a marketing and packaging view?

Postins: We wanted the packaging to feel approachable and to be easy to shop for a newcomer to our brand who may be unsure which recipe is right for their pet. We didn’t want to stray from the box itself, but a refresh that had a very clear architecture and hierarchy of messaging was crucial. We wanted it to feel fresh, modern and above all, different from everything else in our industry.

Chocolate tasting set gets book-styled packaging

Chocolate tasting set gets book-styled packaging

Just in time for the holiday season, Brix Chocolate has launched a tasting party gift set that includes four varieties of chocolate in 3-oz boxes: Extra Dark at 70% cacao, Medium Dark at 60%, Smooth Dark at 54%, and Milk Chocolate at 46%—just add wine! Included inside is a wooden cutting board and knife to break chocolate into bite size pieces and it comes packaged in a keepsake box with a special tasting guide.

Packaging Digest got the details on the packaging design for the Tasting Party Gift Set and the Brix Collection from Bruce Barber, managing director, Brix.

What design trends does your packaging set in the confectionary market? 

Barber: The number one objective of the new package was to display the elements. This is why we choose to use a window to show the 4 Brix varieties, cutting board and knife. We also noticed a trend in expert commentary on wine-related items so choose Philip Goodband as Master of Wine to create a tasting guide, walking consumers through how to conduct a chocolate and wine tasting at home.

What were the key goals and requirements from a marketing view? From a packaging view?

Barber: As mentioned, our number one goal was to visually show the components inside the package. We already have a Brix item, the Brix Collection that has all four varieties, so it was important to show this was different by including the cutting board, knife and tasting guide. Secondly, Brix is a premium chocolate and it was critical to retail the premium imagery we have used on all other packages. So a gloss paper was used on the outer cover along with gold stamp of type. We enhance the wine association with the Brix seal on the front and the closure wax seal on the side which is similar to many wine products.

The branding of the package as a Tasting Party Set also highlighted consumer insights we had on usage of Brix. Consumers are often using Brix at tasting party and this sparked the idea for Tasting Party Set, all the components you need for a home chocolate and wine tasting, except the wine. Hence, the add on line at the bottom “Just Add Wine”.

From a packaging point of view, in addition to the communication points above, it was critical to retain the “book-like” appearance which was so successful for us with the Brix Collection and the package needed to hold the elements safely in place during transport. Inside the package are several components which do exactly that including foam to hold the board in place, a cardboard holder for the Brix packages and double sided foam tape for the knife.

The result is an attractive gift package that opens up to provide a Party in a Box.

Michael Osborne design did creative and Tap Packaging package design and production.

Semi-rigid container makes single-handed opening a literal snap

Semi-rigid container makes single-handed opening a literal snap

The Snapsil easy-open thermoformed container enables a controlled product release for a variety of unit-dose and single-serve products including foods, beverages, personal care, healthcare and household products.

Snapsil semi-rigid containers feature a patented audible “snap-opening” function and allow consumers to open the package with one hand. These innovative containers have been introduced in North America through a joint effort between T.H.E.M., Bemis, Multivac and Australian-based Snapsil Corp.

They are available in a range of creative dispensing designs that enable simple and controlled product release for a variety of unit-dose and single-serve consumer products. The snap-opening function is integrated into the lower web of the thermoformed pack. Because there is no requirement for any perforation of the film in the opening area, the barrier properties for the pack remain uncompromised.

The packs are on-target for demographic, lifestyle and healthcare trends that are driving demand for better human-package interaction including ergonomic and single-hand design highlighted in this feature posted last week: Where package meets person: 3 ways to improve the relationship.

T.H.E.M. is supporting the Snapsil package in North America with product evaluation, testing and contract packaging services for initial trial, test market and higher volume commercial production runs. Snapsil portion packs are produced on Multivac thermoforming packaging machines. T.H.E.M. recently installed a MULTIVAC machine specifically designed to run Snapsil packaging at its Marlton, NJ contract packaging facility.

Neil Kozarsky, CEO and President of Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing (T.H.E.M.), will deliver a presentation on Snapsil packaging technology at Pack Expo 2014, Chicago, on Tuesday, November 4, 11:30AM, at the Bemis Co. exhibit, S-3705. Ongoing Snapsil demonstrations will be conducted throughout the show at the Bemis booth in addition to the T.H.E.M. exhibit at S-4107.

Snapsil made its commercial debut in a single-serve offering of tomato ketchup. The package is also suitable for a number of food, beverage, spirits, personal care, healthcare and household products.

An update on traceability for packaged foods from GS1 US

An update on traceability for packaged foods from GS1 US

While track-and-trace has made inroads into pharmaceuticals (see GS1 weighs in on current track-and-trace developments), there remains somewhere around the next bend the use of traceability to help improve safety in the supply chain for packaged foods.  We went to the source to find out more, asking GS1 US for an update on the status of traceability for food packaging. Responding to our inquiry in this Q&A is Angela Fernandez, vice president of retail grocery and foodservice, GS1 US.

What’s going on at GS1 US relative to traceability for packaged foods?

Fernandez: GS1 US has been actively engaging with stakeholders keeping a close eye on the rapid evolution of the food industry, which has led to the launch of our Retail Grocery Initiative. The Initiative is designed to bring together leaders from grocery, fresh foods and consumer packaged goods for unprecedented industry collaboration. A cross-section of industry stakeholders have come together in open industry meetings to identify high-priority supply chain challenges impacting the entire industry. We are now getting closer to operationalizing the Initiative with the guidance of an Executive Leadership Committee to develop potential solutions to those challenges by leveraging GS1 Standards.

Specifically, the industry determined the top three focus areas for the retail grocery supply chain:

  1. Product information (including images);
  2. Supply chain visibility and
  3. Operational efficiencies.

The need for expanded, standardized product attributes stems from increased consumer demand for more information about food and other product – whether it is organic, GMO-free, or contains a certain ingredient, for example. We’ll be focused on helping the industry better identify, capture and share this information leveraging standards and industry best practices.

Supply chain visibility is also a major focus area that affects all trading partners. Many industry stakeholders we work with are placing a greater emphasis on supply chain visibility using GS1 Standards not just because they anticipate future FDA regulations will require them to have better traceability capabilities, but because they know they’ll gain additional business benefits when they can better see the details of their internal processes. With visibility into their supply chains, companies achieve more process improvements, such as better inventory/category management, more accurate ordering, improved product availability, improved shrink management and, ultimately, efficient and accurate traceability when required.

Operational efficiency is an internal benefit of leveraging standards. The Initiative is seeking to reduce supply chain inefficiencies from decreasing total delivered costs (TDCs) in order to remain competitive and successful. We are currently identifying the gaps and opportunities for operational efficiencies where leveraging GS1 Standards can lead to positive results.

What is the status and level of interest?

Fernandez: The interest level is high when you are talking about pressure from consumers to have complete and accurate information, as well as pressures from a regulatory standpoint.

From a high level perspective, the food industry is focused on meeting consumer requirements for accurate data via physical and digital channels. Online grocery shopping is on the rise, which is driving enhancements in packaging and the overall presentation of a product. Consumers are more empowered and are looking for direct access to nutritional and allergen information, as well as other expanded product attributes. How this information is shared within the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) and the harmonization of these attributes across the food industry will be critical to business innovation and meeting, or even exceeding, the expectations of consumers.

From a logistics perspective, the industry is adopting the GS1-128 case or carton-level barcode for fresh foods and other products, which is driven by the need to implement more effective traceability procedures. The main concern here is compliance with the anticipated proposed rules in support of the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), which has been regarded as one of the most sweeping food industry reform measures in history.

GS1 US has devoted several work streams in foodservice and retail grocery industries to enhancing traceability procedures based on GS1 Standards – the most visible being the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI). This initiative is a collaboration between GS1 US and three other organizations: the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association. PTI is focused on electronic case-level traceability of produce and is designed to help the industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures. The best practices and guidance documents created by PTI workgroups serve as models for other product categories as well, including consumer packaged goods. Also, as more retailers and foodservice operators are willing to share their implementation stories, we anticipate the level of awareness for the benefits of using standards-based traceability will grow.

What can you say about the role of the Global Food Traceability Center in this? 

Fernandez: The Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) is composed of food industry organizations that have opened an international dialogue concerning the interoperability and alignment of food traceability requirements. A single, global authoritative voice on food traceability has not previously existed—most traceability efforts have focused on specific commodities, proprietary technologies or a particular industry group’s needs.

The GFTC was launched a year ago by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) supported by several founding sponsors and industry associations—including GS1 US, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the Seafood Industry Research Fund for the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA). It is designed to be an unbiased, science-based advisor that focuses on addressing the very real issues and challenges of implementing improvements in food traceability while increasing transparency about the food we eat. 

Most recently, the GFTC announced the launch of a Seafood Traceability Financial Tool and provided a guidance document to help harmonize global food traceability procedures after gathering 55 experts from 11 different countries. The work of the GFTC underscores the critical mass that food traceability has reached. All of these efforts seek to identify the significant gaps in the way the food supply chain functions and encourage collaboration to help solve the challenges that trading partners have in common—which is critical to innovation and everyone’s future success.

In Part 2 that will be posted next week, Ms. Fernandez identifies five stakeholders in this market and references the implementation by a brand owner of a traceability program that leverages GS1 Standards.

New sensory zipper confirms reseal

New sensory zipper confirms reseal

Among two new zipper reseal innovations to be introduced by Presto Products at Pack Expo is a new sensory zipper designed to deliver pronounced audible and tactile cues when consumers close the packaging. It is applicable for a range of applications including food, pharmaceutical, chemical and household products.

Presto Products Company will introduce the two innovative closure technologies at Pack Expo International 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago, IL). Note that the image shows the current Double Zipper and not the new ones that will debut at the show.

The new sensory zipper is designed to deliver pronounced audible and tactile cues when consumers close packaging. The new technologies are ideal for a range of applications including food, pet food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, chemical, lawn and garden, and household products.

Designed to meet required ASTM D3475 standards, the new child-resistant technology represents a breakthrough in the category. 

“The development of our child-resistant and sensory technologies was driven by two major consumer insights: improved safety for products that should not be consumed by children or taken without adult supervision; and assurance in a secure seal to reduce exposure to oxygen, minimizing food waste,” says Brad Hansen, Fresh-Lock and Slide-Rite business unit director.

Presto will feature live application demonstrations at its Pack Expo booth # S-2837. The company’s Slide-Rite sliders will be featured on Sunday, November 2 and Monday, November 3, while its new sensory zipper technology will be run on Tuesday and Wednesday at speeds of 170 pouches per minute. Both technologies will be applied to pouches made from Sonoco films using Totani’s CT-60 pouch making machine.

To learn more about Presto’s portfolio of technologies or to schedule a booth appointment during Pack Expo, contact prestofreshlock@reynoldsbrands.com.

About Presto Products Company

Presto Products Company is a major supplier of products ranging from private label food and disposer bags to packaging closures. Presto, a business of Reynolds Packaging Group, operates six manufacturing plants and supports customers in North America, Europe and Asia.

What makes for great packaging design?

1. Espolon Tequila, Coven Vodka and Milagro Select Barrel Reserve: What is cooler than a packaging design that immediately grabs your attention and makes an impression?

What can be done to stand out in a sea of products and packaging? This visual Gallery shows seven ways that can be done across 14 product lines to make impactful packaging using color, form, graphics and typography. Use the Next button at the top or the arrows next to the image to advance the next slide.

Creating packaging of distinction on shelf is done through strategic thinking. Someone who sets the bar high for packaging design that rises above a sea of packaging is Lauren Kremin, senior innovation manager of Beam Suntory, who made a presentation at Packaging Digest’s Global Food & Beverage Packaging Summit in July loaded with strong visual tie-ins “using form, color, iconography, collaboration and construct stories to bring brands to life,” she said. 

While her presentation centered on differentiation for liquor packaging, you’ll find that these visually-based takeaways apply across all product segments as seen in these 7 examples:

1. Espolon Tequila, Coven Vodka and Milagro Select Barrel Reserve.

2. Samurai Vodka, Crystal Head Vodka, Domaine Canton Ginger Liqueur.

3. Blossa Glogg Mulled Wine and Hpnotiq Liqueur.

4. Teeling Irish Whiskey, El Buho Mezcal, Elements of Islay Scotch.

 5. Effen Black Cherry.

6. Maker’s Mark Whiskey.

7. Ole Smoky Moonshine.

For more from the conference, see The Buzz from Day 1 ; you can also read tweets from the conference hashtag FBPackaging at Twitter.

7 on-the-go packs leading in design

7 on-the-go packs leading in design
Ready Pack introduced six Bistro Wrap Kits in May 2014 in its salad bowl packaging. For the salads and the wrap kits, these bowls are filled with lettuce, with a compartmentalized tray sitting on top holding various fresh ingredients. The wrap kits also include an artisan tortilla, sauces and “a delightful crunch,” according to the company. Then the bowl is sealed with film lidding.

According to the 2014 Health & Wellness Survey released by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), there are more than 30,000 healthier product choices that have been released in the marketplace between 2002 and 2013 with 10,000 in just the last four years alone.

“Consumers want to eat better and they want to do so in a way that fits their lifestyles. The 2014 GMA Health & Wellness Survey demonstrates that the industry has responded to this need in a significant way. America’s food and beverage companies have made available to consumers thousands of new and reformulated product choices that are less in calories, fats, sugar and sodium to help them build healthy diets for themselves and their families,” says Pamela G. Bailey, GMA president/ CEO.

The report also highlights that 46% of companies have introduced single-serve packaging to help consumers manage their caloric intake.

In 2014 alone, Packaging Digest has covered a plethora of single-serve packaging options from several leading brands. To capture this growing demand for portion control sizes from health-minded consumers, I have created a slideshow to showcase some of the top leading designs. Click here to view the gallery.