Packaging Digest is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cider giants look to packaging to reaffirm brand, taste

Cider giants look to packaging to reaffirm brand, taste
Stella Artois, part of Anheuser-Busch, released Cidre which is available in 4-pack 12-oz bottles and in 24-oz bottles, the latter meant to be consumed in restaurants and bars, and the packaging is minimalist, with just the word "Cidre" — French for "cider" — and the Stella Artois logo standing out.

Echoing the craft beer craze, hard cider is exploding into the adult beverage market as Americans are expressing a thirst for variety and different flavors. Also, adding to its rapid growth is the gluten-free phenomenon as consumers are looking to healthier lifestyles. While relatively new for millenials, the alcoholic drink, made from fermented apple juice, dates back to early colonial times when the Pilgrims drank cider as they journeyed to America aboard the Mayflower. Not to mention it was the drink of choice among our founding fathers.

According to market researcher Mintel, the growth in hard ciders has been driven largely by the highly coveted millennial generation, 47% of whom consume the drink. Not unexpectedly, all this action has grabbed the attention of some heavy hitters, with recent launches of bottled hard ciders by MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch. Also, nearly 55% of all beer drinkers say that they like to try new alcoholic drinks like craft beer or hard cider, and 18% of those aged 22-24 report drinking more hard cider in the past six months, the largest increase amongst any alcohol type across all measured age groups.  

To capture this burgeoning market, I’ve singled out several exciting packaging designs that boast everything from masculinity and unisex, adventure, locale and authenticity to simplicity.   

Hot, healthy and quick? General Mills taps K-cup style packaging for hot cereal

Hot, healthy and quick? General Mills taps K-cup style packaging for hot cereal
New Nature Valley Bistro Cups make hot, great tasting oatmeal in just minutes using a Keurig brewing system. Brand owner General Mills opted to use generic brewing-cup packaging rather than partner with Keurig to use its K-cups.

Oatmeal. It’s a good-for-you breakfast but, depending on how you make it, it can be bland and take longer to make than you typically have time for in the morning.

A new packaging format for the category has solved both these issues. The new Nature Valley Bistro Cup from General Mills is designed to make hot, great tasting oatmeal in just minutes using a Keurig brewing system.

As one female consumer says in a video on the Nature Valley website, “I have a Keurig and this would make my breakfast way quicker in the morning.” And one dad says, “My kids could make this and have breakfast ready to go for the entire family.” “That’s great. Oatmeal at the touch of a button,” says another woman.

The Minnesota food processor follows in the footsteps of Campbell Soup, which introduced soup in K-cup style packaging in the fall of 2013 for soup. Unlike Campbell, though, which partnered with K-Cup owner Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., General Mills opted to use generic brewing-cup packaging.

Not to be upstaged, Green Mountain (which changed its name to Keurig Green Mountain in March 2014), continues its expansion through major partnerships. Announced Sept. 3, 2014, Honest Tea, the nation's No.1 organic bottled iced tea, will be the first brand from The Coca Cola Co. available in K-Cup packs.

Keurig net income increased 33% in 2013 year-over-year, following an 82% increase y-o-y in 2012.

Generic brewing cups for use in Keurig systems have also seen exponential growth in recent years, according to one machinery manufacturer involved in packaging products in private-label cups, Telesonic Packaging.

How brand owners can benefit from smart packaging

How brand owners can benefit from smart packaging
Thin Film Electronics prints “memory” on polymer-based substrates instead of using silicon and chips. This powers Thin Film's Smart Labels, which are economically produced on roll-to-roll machinery in amounts of thousands at a time.

Curious about how your products can take advantage of smart packaging technologies? The Active & Intelligent Packaging Assn. (AIPIA) can help you sort it all out. The AIPIA Congress, held during Pack Expo International 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago), brings together nearly three dozen experts to present technologies and new research on hot topics such as the Internet of Things, interactive packaging, anti-microbials, nanotechnology and more. See the complete line up of topics and speakers at the AIPIA Congress at www.aipia.info/program.

Andrew Manly, AIPIA communications director, answers Packaging Digest’s questions about what’s new in this space and why you should care.

What are the most exciting developments going on in printed electronics and how can brand owners take advantage of this technology?

Manly: It is difficult to pick out one particular thing as there seems to be innovation on a range of products. For example Thin Film, which is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, has delivered functional samples of its Temperature Sensor Smart Labels to Temptime Corp. The samples were shared by Temptime with potential customers attending the 12th annual Cold Chain Global Forum in Boston, MA, recently.

During the AIPIA Congress, OE-A, the Organic Electronics Assn., will set out a roadmap on just how brand owners can benefit  through the combination of new materials and cost-effective, large-area production processes that open up new fields of application.

Michael Ciesinski, CEO of FlexTech Alliance, also will review and explain his perspective on the development of a manufacturing infrastructure for flexible, printed electronics.

We should also not forget that more traditional radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have much greater functionalities these days, so Avery Dennison and others will cover that aspect.

We see printed electronics offering security in the supply chain but also with enormous potential for mobile marketing and better customer engagement via, for example, the Internet of Things.

What smart packaging technologies can brand owners explore for using their packages to connect consumers to the Internet of Things?

Manly: A number of speakers are going to look at this area. One of these is Andy Hobsbawm, founder  of Evrythng, who is focusing on where the smart money is going in smart packaging.

As we have already said, the potential for mobile marketing, greater knowledge of customer preferences and relationship building through the Internet of Things is enormous. But brand wwners need to be educated about how to use the technology to best advantage. Consumers are ahead of the curve on using these facilities when they are available and do not consider them intrusive.

Another speaker, Laurent Tonnelier, of mobiLead says there is much buzz these days about “active objects” connected to the IoT. He believes that active connected objects will represent the tip of the iceberg. Much more prevalent will be individually marked “passive” manufactured objects, documents and consumer packaged goods that are each connected to value-added mobile services such as extended packaging, anti-counterfeiting, one-to-one marketing, warranties, customer loyalty, recyclability, traceability, gaming and even education.

What are the benefits—to the brand owner and its consumers—of a package that connects consumers to digital information?

Manly: That is a big question. Brand owners and retailers that AIPIA has talked to all seem to have different priorities. These range from better supply chain management and security, through stock and inventory management to compliance issues—for pharmaceutical products—and condition monitoring. Another big benefit is the reduction in shrinkage that can result from your items being connected, via the packaging, to a surveillance system.

The issue of faked products, for example, is a big problem for the spirit manufacturers, as well as for fashion and sports apparel brands—but probably less so for most food or “small ticket” items. However the potential for damage to brand reputation if a consumer is harmed by the contents of even a cheap fake wine or a battery in your phone (these are real examples) should be making even those companies aware of the risks they run if they do nothing.

But again, l come back to the fact that information is power. If you know much more about your customer from a passive and non-intrusive technology, think how much more carefully you can target your marketing and loyalty campaigns or special offers. In the end, consumers will manage these relationships, not the product provider.

Packaging Digest readers should really come listen to Dr. Lee Nicholson, director at PepsiCo’s corporate R&D, who will discuss this very topic in his presentation “Opportunities in Interactive Packaging for Consumer Goods.”

How can interactive packages also be environmentally friendly?

Manly: Ah, this is the easiest question of them all for an AIPIAer to answer! The fight against food waste has been gathering momentum for some time. And the waste from this source is far greater than anything the packaging industry can be accused of—even allowing for all the recycling initiatives now in place.

Active and intelligent packaging just looks at it from the other end of the telescope. How do we use packaging to reduce food waste? Rather than how do we minimize packaging, which, in my opinion, is often a counter-productive solution, particularly for the consumer.

The Congress features a whole host of technologies to help extend shelf life, reduce waste and ensure the product is in good condition as well as telling you when it’s about to go off. There is far more certainty using a condition monitor rather than a “Sell By” or “Best Before” label. Much of the food retailers throw away or consumers trash from their fridges is perfectly okay. So won’t it be better if you know rather than guess?

Come listen to Sumitra Rajagopalan of Bioastra tell us about the fascinating science and applications of smart polymers and their potential to create a new class of smart and intelligent packaging films; or Michael Stephens of Symphony Environmental who is talking about the benefits and flexibility of intelligent additive materials; or Rachel Morier of PAC Food Waste, who is exploring the interplay between packaging innovation and causes of food waste. And that’s just three!

Cider giants look to packaging to reaffirm brand, taste: Gallery

Stella Artois, part of Anheuser-Busch, released Cidre which is available in 4-pack 12-oz bottles and in 24-oz bottles, the latter meant to be consumed in restaurants and bars, and the packaging is minimalist, with just the word "Cidre" — French for "cider" — and the Stella Artois logo standing out.

Echoing the craft beer craze, hard cider is exploding into the adult beverage market as Americans are expressing a thirst for variety and different flavors. Also, adding to its rapid growth is the gluten-free phenomenon as consumers are looking to healthier lifestyles. While relatively new for millenials, the alcoholic drink, made from fermented apple juice, dates back to early colonial times when the Pilgrims drank cider as they journeyed to America aboard the Mayflower. Not to mention it was the drink of choice among our founding fathers all the way up until Prohibition.

According to market researcher Mintel, the growth in hard ciders has been driven largely by the highly coveted millennial generation, 47% of whom consume the drink. Not unexpectedly, all this action has grabbed the attention of some heavy hitters, with recent launches of bottled hard ciders by MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch. Also, nearly 55% of all beer drinkers say that they like to try new alcoholic drinks like craft beer or hard cider, and 18% of those aged 22-24 report drinking more hard cider in the past six months, the largest increase amongst any alcohol type across all measured age groups.  

To capture this burgeoning market, I’ve singled out several exciting packaging designs that boast everything from masculinity and unisex, adventure, locale, authenticity and simplicity.   

4 leading label solutions: Gallery

Shrink-sleeve labels made with innovative variable sleeve offset printing (VSOP) technology produce a seam that is narrower than the industry average. The new process eliminates edge-lift for a smoother finish, and avoids print gaps at the seam line when the sleeve shrinks. Other VSOP benefits includes no plate costs, allowing for frequent graphic changes; plates made in minutes, allowing for last minute changes; and combination printing that provides greater flexibility in controlling label inventories.

This gallery offers a sneak peek on what attendees will be seeing in leading-edge label solutions at Pack Expo International 2014 from November 2-5 at McCormick Place in Chicago presented by PMMI.

1. Shrink-sleeve labels from Hammer Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #E-6641

2. C-FiT Sleeve from MRI Flexible Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #N-5142

3. In-mold labels from Yupo Corp., Pack Expo Booth N-#6267

4. Automated vertical sleeve labeler from Sleeve Seal, Pack Expo Booth #N-4730

Hot, healthy and quick? General Mills taps K-cup style packaging for hot cereal: Gallery

New Nature Valley Bistro Cups make hot, great tasting oatmeal in just minutes using a Keurig brewing system. Brand owner General Mills opted to use generic brewing-cup packaging rather than partner with Keurig to use its K-cups.

General Mills introduces a new packaging format for the hot cereal category. The new Nature Valley Bistro Cup from General Mills is designed to make hot, great tasting oatmeal in just minutes using a Keurig brewing system.

The Minnesota food processor follows in the footsteps of Campbell Soup, which introduced soup in K-cup style packaging in the fall of 2013 for soup. Unlike Campbell, though, which partnered with K-Cup owner Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., General Mills opted to use generic brewing-cup packaging.

Not to be upstaged, Green Mountain (which changed its name to Keurig Green Mountain in March 2014), continues its expansion through major partnerships. Announced Sept. 3, 2014, Honest Tea, the nation's No.1 organic bottled iced tea, will be the first brand from The Coca Cola Co. available in K-Cup packs.

Frito-Lay sued by Clear Lam Packaging over Doritos Gamer Pack

Frito-Lay sued by Clear Lam Packaging over Doritos Gamer Pack

In mid September, Clear Lam Packaging Inc. (Elk Grove Village, IL) filed suit against Frito-Lay in Chicago's federal court, accusing the snack-food giant of stealing a packaging design for its promotional boxes of Doritos.

Clear Lam claims in the suit that new packaging designs it made available to Frito-Lay under confidentiality agreements ended up as the basis for packaging used to house 7oz servings of Doritos sold alongside Microsoft's new Xbox One console. The Doritos Gamer Pack includes a type of flexible film packaging that shares major aspects of Clear Lam's trademarked PrimaPak (shown) technology, according to the Sept. 16 suit, wrote the Cook County Record.

"The PrimaPak system includes a commercially viable method of producing a first-of-its-kind cubed, flexible, recloseable package commonly used for a variety of consumer and industrial products," Clear Lam asserts in its suit. "Among other things, the PrimaPak system is designed to replace traditional stand-up pouches, bags, and a variety of preformed rigid containers such as plastic jars, cans, bottles, and trays."

For more, read the full report at PlasticsToday.

4 robotics systems exemplary of packaging applications: Gallery

4 robotics systems exemplary of packaging applications: Gallery
Robots used in packaging Yaskawa-Motoman.

The robotics market is red hot, according to the Robotic Industries Association, the industry’s trade group. The RIA reported in late July that the North American robotics industry is off to its fastest start EVER in 2014. That growth is echoed throughout packaging, where more and more robots are installed yearly as an efficiency raiser and for tasks impossible, impractical or unsafe for a human operator.

The proliferation of faster, smaller, nimbler and more economical robotic systems is also apparent at every Pack Expo. As a preview to a select few robotics developments for a range of applications, we present a slideshow  of  what Pack Expo attendees will be seeing in leading-edge automation and controls for robotic systems for palletizing, collating and case packing at Pack Expo International 2014. The show will run November 2-5 at McCormick Place in Chicago presented by  the PMMI.

 1. The MLX200 Robot Gateway Robotics controller from Yaskawa Motoman, Pack Expo Booth #S-1733.

2. A small-footprint robotic palletizer from Schneider Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #S-2520.

3. The LJTRT robotic product collator and robotic carton loader from Propack Processing and Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #S-2273.

4. The CPIII wraparound casepacker with robotic loader fromBluePrint Automation, Pack Expo Booth #N-5729

Dramatically textured beverage can offers gripping, branding benefits

Dramatically textured beverage can offers gripping, branding benefits

The patent-pending XanCan is an aluminum beverage can made with textured sidewalls using customizable patterns to create a one-of-a-kind impact. The revolutionary technique enables a better grip and improved handling and is an innovative way to distinguish brand recognition, marketability and gain a competitive advantage, all while improving consumer comfort.

For the majority of beverages that are sold chilled or chilled before use, the pattern provides a grippable surface that helps alleviate problems with a can made slippery due to surface condensation.

The XanCan is suitable for all beverage categories from beer and soft drinks, to iced teas and energy drinks. Regardless of the pattern applied, the can remains fully recyclable.

XanCan, 678-502-0702

info@XanCan.com

www.XanCan.com

4 exemplary robotics systems used in packaging

Robots used in packaging Yaskawa-Motoman.

This slideshow previews what attendees will be seeing in leading-edge automation and controls for robotic systems for palletizing, collating and case packing at Pack Expo International 2014 from November 2-5 at McCormick Place in Chicago presented by PMMI.

1. The MLX200 Robot Gateway Robotics controller from Yaskawa Motoman, Pack Expo Booth #S-1733.

2. A small-footprint robotic palletizer from Schneider Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #S-2520.

3. The LJTRT robotic product collator and robotic carton loader from Propack Processing and Packaging, Pack Expo Booth #S-2273.

4. The CPIII wraparound casepacker with robotic loader, BluePrint Automation, Pack Expo Booth #N-5729.