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Packaging Design

Sidewall Print Adds Shelf Impact to Packs

Sealed Air Ole Mexican Foods Fresco sidewall print

Olé Mexican Foods is a stellar case-study example of a preprinted forming film that permits branding and other graphics on the sidewall of thermoformed packaging for cheese, meat, and other markets.

In fact, the brand’s application started a trend  for other brands that have since adapted the technology.

It all began three years ago after the brand consulted with its film supplier about printing on a thermoformed package and the supplier declined. When the company reached out to Sealed Air, the supplier’s graphics and packaging experts went into action to make it happen.

The preprinted graphic design on the plastic must account for the distortion caused by molding process, so the process was, time-consuming and expensive, but the tight collaboration allowed project trials to flow smoothly, and resulted in proper sizing and placement of the artwork on the profile of the queso fresco packaging.

Sealed AirOle Foods fresco pack beauty

Queso fresco, one of the most popular Mexican items, presented a unique challenge for brands that want to differentiate themselves in the highly competitive ethnic foods market where Mexican products account for more than 60%.

Olé Mexican Foods and Sealed Air worked together on this project that gives Olé’s queso fresco product instant brand recognition that no other cheese brand has. Industry research shows that 64% of consumers claim to have purchased something new because the package caught their attention, and Olé’s sales statistics support the findings.

A colorful puck.

Queso fresco is typically sold in round, puck-shaped packages with brand information printed on the top and bottom only. They are stacked atop of each other in the retail dairy case, limiting shoppers to a side view and resulting in a “sea of white” unbranded packages. Olé Foods’ queso fresco was the first Hispanic cheese product in the dairy case to let consumers see the brand without having to pick it up.

On top of a visually pleasing package with graphics that are easy to read at a distance, Olé’s product has immediate and unique brand recognition.

Olé applied the new packaging to two different brands and a total of eight SKUs, resulting in a 16% or $1.5 million increase in sales over an 8-month period.

Olé is consulting with Sealed Air to solve more challenges and deliver industry-changing innovations.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the visibility and recognition the new packaging has given us in the marketplace,” says Blake Johnson, vice president at Olé Foods. “Our product now has the differentiation that none of our competitors has. If you take a photo of the Hispanic cheese section, you’ll see a sea of white, with our product being the only one that stands out.”

Trend-setting, trend-enabling innovation.

“This solution has sparked a lot of interest in the cheese and processed meat markets in North America and has even expanded into the Latin American market,” says Deborah Sepulveda, North America director, SEE Graphic Services at Sealed Air. “For products that are stacked on top of each other at the retailer, Formed Profile Printing offers the processor increased brand awareness for targeting their consumer base. It enables processors to change their packaging format style from a flow wrap to a traditional rollstock package, while obtaining ink coverage around the entire package to potentially improve overall product quality by complete air removal in the package. It’s a pathway for further brand building, increased consumer awareness, and additional opportunities for messaging.”

Sealed AirThermoform Print on Crabmeat Sticks

Sealed Air prints the forming film using a standard flexographic plate in a multicolor process print at high-definition resolutions. The company can also print the film digitally sans plates.

It can replace an applied label to save material and one step — label application — on a production line.

“This also enables future recycling by reducing the amount of mixed plastics for a package,” Sepulveda points out.

According to Sepulveda, the technology is also an on-trend enabler for today’s consumer: By reclaiming often unused package space for print and branding, there is more space for graphics including Quick Response (QR) codes or other scannable features that enable connected packaging for direct consumer engagement. 

Sealed AirPrinted Thermoform Meat packaging

The preprinted rollstock works with any horizontal thermoforming machine that has a registration system for the forming web.

“Our focus has been on flexible and semirigid packaging materials used in horizontal form, fill, and seal applications,” says Sepulveda. “This technology works for most materials and thermoforming equipment that have a predictable and repeatable distortion pattern during the forming process. There is also advanced technology in the ink system to withstand the temperatures material is exposed to during the forming process.” 

Although the technology has changed little since 2017, Sealed Air “continues to test different shapes and draw depths to see how else we can expand our offer,” Sepulveda adds.


Berry Global Transforms Packaging Sustainably

It usually takes a big company to make a big difference for improved sustainability.

Consider the developments of Berry Global, a Fortune 500 global manufacturer and marketer of plastic packaging products headquartered in Evansville, IN, with more than 48,000 employees working at 290 facilities worldwide.

On-trend with numerous packaging companies, Berry is going all out in making the plastic caps, closures, and cups it manufactures as sustainable as possible.

Following a brief, big-picture look at the company’s achievements, company managers share details about several  packaging innovations.

In a recent presentation, Brian Hunt, Berry Global’s EVP & general manager, closures, bottles, and specialties, summarized the packaging supplier’s major milestones and goals in this graphic:

Berry GlobalBerry Sustain Overview Facts

Berry's sustainable journey is not without challenges that include securing reliable sources of high-quality post-consumer recycle (PCR) content.

“Currently, the number of approved streams for food contact mechanically recycled resins is limited,” acknowledges Diane Marret, Berry Global, sustainability director of consumer packaging, North America. “We continue to work with our suppliers to understand the limitations of use and incorporate PCR where feasible. There are new types of recycled resins coming online in the future to help meet the increasing demand for recycled content.”

This slideshow gallery show the ways Berry is making sustainable progress, starting with the Instagram-worthy Versalite cup.



Ecommerce/Supply Chain

Bio-Lab Boosts Sustainability with Curbside-Recyclable Shipper

Photo supplied by TemperPack ClimaCell_newBranding_topView_ftd.jpg
Customizable ClimaCell box liners ship and store flat, saving on freight costs and warehouse space, yet can easily be assembled to create an insulated shipper.

Given today’s global pandemic coupled with growing environmental concerns, how are healthcare’s most vital products being safely and reliably delivered? And how it this being done sustainably?

New England Biolabs (NEB) has found one such solution with ClimaCell from TemperPack, which is sourced by UPS Healthcare as part of its supply chain solutions for pharmaceutical, biopharma, and medical device companies. ClimaCell is plant-based, curbside-recyclable insulation that protects controlled room temperature (CRT) and refrigerated/frozen pack-outs for up to 36 hours.

“Our products being mostly biological materials, we ship to life-science researchers at laboratories around the world,” says Deana Martin, NEB’s marketing communications associate director. “Maintaining shipping temperature conditions is critical, particularly when shipping long distances or to warmer climates. We offer overnight delivery to most US locations, with an expected delivery time of 18 to 24 hours — well within the ClimaCell recommendation.”


The value of recyclability.

ClimaCell is repulpable alongside corrugated board, a product that is recycled 93% of the time, according to the Corrugated Packaging Alliance. TemperPack worked closely with Closed Loop Partners, a firm that helps develop products and practices that support a circular economy, to ensure ClimaCell meets all of the needs of both materials recovery facilities (MRFs) and paper manufacturer companies.

During repulping, the bio-based starch insulation dissolves and useful kraft paper fibers are retained for reuse. As a result, ClimaCell is OCC-E certified curbside recyclable. It’s the first thermal insulation to receive the “Widely Recyclable” designation from How2Recycle. This label informs those receiving a ClimaCell-protected shipment that it can be easily disposed in curbside recycle bins alongside the corrugated box or paper bag it came in.

ClimaCell offers an alternative to expanded polystyrene (EPS) materials typically used for temperature-controlled shippers. EPS is inexpensive and provides product protection on top of temperature control. But it’s carcinogenic, oil-based, emits high CO2 levels, and doesn’t completely break down. Consequently, some healthcare-related organizations have taken a leading role in shifting to more eco-friendly packaging materials.

“EPS is difficult to recycle,” Martin says. “New England Biolabs has been very pleased with the ClimaCell insert and has received much positive feedback from our customers. We created an introductory video about ClimaCell and how it can be recycled. It’s available by scanning a code on the box, as well as on our website.”


Recyclable solutions for healthcare companies.

“Healthcare and life-science customers are requesting more sustainable packaging options,” says Wes Wheeler, UPS Healthcare president. “ClimaCell aligns with our commitment to a reduced environmental footprint across our healthcare logistics operations.”

UPS collaborated with Richmond, VA-based TemperPack to develop four off-the-shelf outer packaging models of varying payload sizes for pharma and biopharmaceuticals, specimens, diagnostic reagents, and vaccines. Small package containers use its ClimaCell material.

These additions to the UPS Temperature True portfolio give healthcare and life science organizations more sustainable options: They’re expected to keep tens of thousands of foam shipping coolers out of landfills over the next several years.

“Each of the UPS packaging levels produces considerably less CO2 emissions than EPS,” says TemperPack co-CEO James McGoff. “They maintain a high degree of rigidity, durability, and product safety for highly-sensitive, temperature-controlled products.”

As a bonus, ClimaCell box liners ship and store flat until you’re ready to use them, saving on freight costs and warehouse space. Assembling an insulated shipper is extremely easy. TemperPack Marketing VP Jed Dutton reports that ClimaCell is customizable in relation to both its thickness and density — some extending the same sort of climate protection for up to 48 hours.

Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy (soon to be Optum Specialty Pharmacy) is another TemperPack customer.


Reprinted from (2020) with permission from New England BiolabsClimaCell-chartA-web.jpg


Reprinted from (2020) with permission from New England BiolabsClimaCell-chartB-web.jpg

Internal temperature duration assays: ClimaCell coolers were placed in a chamber and subjected to temperatures indicated in the profile to reflect (A) a 48-hour summer profile and (B) a continuous profile. Standard deviation is represented at the given time points.

Ecommerce/Supply Chain

4 Critical Factors for Selecting Case Sealing Tape

Photo supplied by Shurtape Shurtape-PrimeLoc-RearWipedownAction-ftd.jpg
The short fibers of a recycled-content case can present a challenge for some sealing tapes.

Packaging tape is a critical element of manufacturers’ secondary packaging strategies. When it comes to ensuring goods arrive safely and securely to their final destination, tape is as important as the box chosen for shipping and the cushioning protecting products.

Selecting the correct packaging tape prevents failing, flagging, and broken tape. It also saves time and money that could be lost to rework, returns and reshipping. When deciding which tape will meet the supply chain’s demands, take these four factors into consideration.


1. Substrate.

Manufacturers need to pay careful attention to the surface of the carton and how the tape will adhere to that surface. Different types of corrugated cartons include recycled, thick or double-wall, and printed or waxed options.

Recycled cartons are prevalent in the industry and may be difficult to seal securely due to the short fibers that make up the substrate. The chopped-up and repulped fibers are tightly packed together, creating a less porous surface than that of a 100% virgin fiber carton. For recycled cartons, a specialized tape with an enhanced adhesive is necessary. Hot melt packaging tapes have specific formulations that provide higher shear, tack, and adhesion.

Thick or double-wall cartons require a tape that resists slippage and has the ability to stick to the sides of the carton and hold the major flaps down. A carton’s major flaps have more memory and transfer stress to the tape once the carton is sealed. Hot melt tapes have the high holding power required to keep the major flaps down and prevent tape flagging.

Printed or waxed cartons present an entirely different challenge for packaging tape. These substrates have a low surface energy. Since the molecular force of attraction is lower, adhesives do not easily establish a bond with the carton’s surface. Acrylic tapes have a lower viscosity adhesive, which is able to wet out — the adhesive flows and covers the surface to maximize the contact area — and permeates the carton’s printed or waxed layer.


2. Environment.

It is important to consider the environmental conditions that cartons will endure throughout the production, shipping, and storage timeline. Cold packaging environments are not tape friendly. Due to adhesive’s viscoelasticity — the combination of both liquid and solid properties — cold temperatures cause the liquid component in the adhesive to harden and the tape loses its tackiness. Hot melt tapes are formulated with a special synthetic adhesive to create an instant, permanent bond that resists subfreezing temperatures.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, humidity is also an issue for tape. For hot, humid environments, manufacturers should choose an acrylic tape, which also works well in dusty or dirty environments. The tape’s ability to wet out, or be more liquid-like, allows the adhesive to move around dirt and dust. This feature lets acrylic tape form a robust bond with the case.


3. Tape Grade.

Packaging tapes are available in a variety of film thicknesses and adhesive levels. To ensure they have the right tensile strength and holding power for a particular application, manufacturers should “right-size” their packaging. Use the case’s size and weight as guidelines in selecting the proper grade of tape. As these factors increase, the tape grade should increase as well. For example, lower grade tapes that offer thinner backings and lower levels of adhesive often are used for lightweight case sealing, while higher grade tapes offering thicker backings. Higher levels of adhesive are typically recommended for larger, heavier weighted cases.


4. Tape Quality.

Quality packaging tape goes through rigorous testing to ensure it can maintain a strong hold without failing. A well-manufactured tape ensures a secure seal and high productivity, allowing lines to run faster and longer. This improves bottom lines by reducing tape waste and reducing rework.

• Performance testing is regulated by the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC), a 60-year old North American trade association for tape manufacturers and affiliate suppliers, and the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). The ASTM is a not-for-profit global organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services in a variety of industries, including building and construction, food processing, manufacturing, and many more.

• Physical testing examines the tape’s peel, tack, and sheer. It includes evaluations of the tape’s shear strength and holding power, adhesion to fiberboard, tensile strength, and elongation — the percentage of stretch endured before the tape breaks.

• Transit endurance is tested by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). It regulates tests that include vibration testing — simulating the movement of packages during transport — as well as temperature and humidity testing, drop tests, and more.


Proper packaging tape reduces supply chain costs.

Making smart decisions on tape can make big impacts to the bottom line. Important factors that may be overlooked, such as how tape adhesive reacts to various surfaces and conditions and the quality of the packaging tape affect cost savings and customer satisfaction. By thoughtfully examining different aspects of the supply chain, manufacturers can ensure that they are selecting the most suitable packaging tape to meet their individual processing needs.


Packaging Design

Morton Salt Targets Millennials with Packaging Redesign

Image supplied by Chase Design Group Morton Redesign_Family-ftd.jpg
Morton Salt’s new packaging design modernizes the iconic brand across multiple product lines.

Morton Salt is using packaging design to refresh its home-maintenance and food packaging and make it easier for consumers to shop for Morton products. The new package graphics feature bold angles and salt-related educational content, together with the brand’s familiar colors and the Morton Salt Girl.

Morton worked with Chase Design Group on the redesign, which includes the How2Recycle label and a quality seal that displays the brand’s founding year of 1848. The new packaging graphics honor Morton Salt’s history while modernizing the brand and engaging with Millennial consumers.

The entire Morton product line is currently rolling out in the new packaging. Products in the culinary category include Morton Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, and Himalayan Pink Salt. The home-care products include Morton Clean Protect Water Softener Pellets, Professional’s Choice Pool Salt, and Action Melt Ice Melt salts.

Starting in December 2020, the packaging for select Morton culinary products will also include a quick response (QR) code that activates fun and educational augmented reality (AR) experiences. Scanning the QR code enables consumers to interact with the new packaging, the Morton Salt Girl, and recipes.

Denise Lauer, chief marketing officer at Morton Salt, and Clark Goolsby, chief creative officer at Chase Design Group, share creative and brand insights in their responses to Packaging Digest's questions about the project.


When did the new packaging start to roll out in the United States?

Lauer: Morton Salt is rolling out its new packaging in a phased approach. Our updated home-care packaging started to appear in market at the end of 2019 and continued to roll out in early 2020. Our refreshed culinary packaging is rolling out throughout 2020 and into early 2021, with the majority of Morton’s new culinary packaging hitting shelves now.


Will the package design be used in other countries?

Lauer: This packaging redesign is focused on the US market, where Morton products are largely sold. It is part of a broader, multiyear brand-modernization effort designed to help strengthen Morton’s appeal and relevance, particularly among Millennial consumers.


How many stock-keeping units (SKUs) were affected by the packaging redesign?

Lauer: We updated Morton Salt’s entire retail portfolio with this packaging refresh — that’s approximately 250 SKUs!


What type of research did Morton and Chase Design Group conduct prior to developing the redesign?

Goolsby: We conducted several rounds of qualitative and quantitative research. We did focus groups on brand territories, multiple qualitative packaging sessions, and quantitative shelf tests.


What insights were gained from the research?

Goolsby: We learned that consumers have great affinity for the Morton Salt Girl, and that they were open to many design directions, as long as she was present. This gave us great freedom in modernizing the brand.


Is the quality seal new, or is it a carry-over from the previous design?

Goolsby: The quality seal is a new addition to the packaging. Morton Salt is an innovative, forward-thinking company, and it wanted its packaging to reflect this. Unlike many historic brands, Morton did not want its packaging to feel like it was from another era.

However, 170 years of business is an incredible achievement and important reassurance for consumers. We created the seal to reflect the consistent, high-quality salt that Morton has produced for more than one and a half centuries.


Was the How2Recycle label already on the packaging, or was it added during the redesign?

Lauer: The How2Recycle label had appeared on a few select Morton products prior to the launch of our new packaging graphics. We extended the How2Recycle label across our entire line of retail products with this packaging redesign.


Image supplied by Chase Design GroupMorton Sea Salt-web.jpg

Did you change the logo?

Goolsby: We did not change the logo. The Morton Salt Girl and wordmark had been updated fairly recently, and the Morton team did not want to further evolve them. 


When will the AR packaging roll out?

Lauer: The QR codes will start to appear on select Morton culinary products in mid-December 2020, giving consumers the opportunity to unlock the augmented reality experience and interact with the Morton brand in an exciting new way.


Is the AR packaging going to be used for Morton culinary products only?

Lauer: Correct. The augmented reality experience will be released only on select Morton culinary salts featuring the new packaging design. Consumers should look for Morton culinary products with QR code tags to activate the augmented reality experience.


Did packaging structures change at all? If so, how?

Goolsby: The packaging structures for the salt shakers changed dramatically. The new structure offers transparency so customers can see the beautiful Morton Salt, and an easy-to-pour cap. 


What types of packaging structures does Morton use for its various products?

Goolsby: Morton Salt has an incredibly diverse portfolio that spans culinary, pool, ice-melt, and water softening. To contain all of the different types of salt, Morton employs a range of structures.

It uses bags, canisters, jugs, boxes, shakers, and grinders. To accommodate all of these structures, Chase Design Group needed to create a flexible design system that allowed each package to be effective at shelf while maintaining a cohesive brand look.


How have consumers reacted to the new packaging?

Lauer: The consumer response has been very positive! During one consumer study, we learned the new packaging design helped drive positive perceptions in quality, brand trust, and overall appeal. But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what one consumer had to say: “The product stands out on the shelf more. But the brand still keeps its classic feel with the girl and the umbrella.”

One of the goals of this redesign was to help drive greater awareness, visibility, and shoppability of our full portfolio of products. We believe the end result is a more modern, premium, and cohesive look across our culinary and home-care lines that will help Morton stand out in-store and on the digital shelf.

Ecommerce/Supply Chain

Reusable Ecommerce Wine Shipper Wins RPA Award

Liviri RPA Livir Wine combo

The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) named reusable packaging manufacturer Liviri’s project with Alejandro Bulgheroni Wines the winner of the 2020 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award program.

The recognition is for Bulgheroni’s 2020 implementation of the Liviri Vino6, a reusable, temperature-controlled wine shipping container. The container demonstrates the cost savings and environmental impact reductions in replacing traditional insulated corrugated shipping boxes with the reusable box.

Wine bottlesare typically packed in single-use corrugated cardboard shippers with expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation and single-use cooling gel packs. These single use containers do not have enough insulation or coolant to protect wine if travelling a long distance or through very hot or very cold areas, so 2-day air or express freight is often used to improve the likelihood that the wine stays in its target temperature zone. Liviri Vino features aerospace-grade insulation, secure quick-clip latches for easy opening, and a single reusable ice pack designed to slide into the center compartment of the container, creating the most efficient thermal performance. The result is significantly better temperature control, so wine can be shipped via ground transportation and avoid costly and environmentally damaging air express methods.

“Liviri Vino is reusable, which makes it not only functional, but also sustainable. Our goals are to limit the seasonality of the wine shipping industry, greatly reduce single-use packaging and produce environmentally preferable reusable, shipping solutions that can be recycled at end of life,” said Brian Jacoby, Sr. Vice President Liviri Sales, “Demand is high during the most challenging shipping months, but due to the risk of frozen or ‘cooked’ wine, shipments are extremely limited and must be sent via air express. Liviri Vino opens up these months to regular shipping practices for our customers, like Alejandro Bulgheroni Wines.”

The Liviri team engaged environmental consultancy Sphera to perform a Life Cycle Assessment to quantify the environmental impact of Liviri Vino.  According to the LCA and even with two legs of ground transportation and return shipment, Liviri Vino outperformed single-use shippers. The container is molded of polypropylene, which is end-of-life recyclable. at. Also, real-world tests conducted by Liviri have shown that Liviri Vino is capable of maintaining wine within an acceptable temperature window of 35 º to 70º F for up to five days during extreme hot or cold conditions, giving wine producers added flexibility in shipping to customers.

The RPA Excellence in Reusable Packaging award recognizes companies and organizations that have developed and implemented innovative and measurable reusable packaging solutions in a business-to-business supply chain.

Packaging Career Development

What You Need to Know About Smart Factories, Sustainability, and More


Join us for a meeting of engineering minds at the all-new Virtual Engineering Week. The online event, hosted by our corporate family at Informa Markets - Engineering, is free for all to attend.

For packaging professionals seeking to hone their knowledge and leadership skills, we’ve created a short, curated list of packaging-specific sessions, below. Topics include flexible packaging economics; news on medical device packaging standards and regulations; new materials and formats; lifecycle assessments; and the circular, sustainable economy. Additional topics include collaborative robots, smart factories, supply chain optimization, and cultural change management.

Toward the goal of “Connecting Global Design, Engineering, and Manufacturing Communities,” the event, held November 30 - December 4, is free to all. You can attend any of the below, curated sessions or all.

Just click the links below or visit the Virtual Engineering Week homepage for free access.


Tuesday, December 1

1:00-1:30 p.m.
Industry 5.0: Creative People, Collaborative Robots & Smart Factories
Shalabh Bakshi, Siemens
Track: Smart Manufacturing: Robotics & AI

As Industry 4.0 makes its way onto factory floors, say Industry 5.0 is already here, which the presenter will explain. It is as much about people, jobs, and culture as it is about plants and machines. This session will bring that human element to a session that encompasses artificial intelligence (AI), robots/cobots, cloud-enabled production processes, and smart behavioral monitoring with an eye toward safety, security, and productivity.


1:30-2:00 p.m.
The Smart Factory: You Have All the Data, What Do You Do with It?
John Danese and Tej Sarup, Birlasoft
Track: Smart Manufacturing: Robotics & AI

When you invest in smart factory, Internet of Things (IoT), AI and related technologies, do you know what you’ll do with all the data you generate? This session will help will help you prioritize initiatives to improve efficiency, maximize uptime and understand the rule of best practices for data access and usage giving examples from medical device manufacturing.


1:45-2:15 p.m.
Secure Development Lifecycle and Supply Chain Risks
Christopher Gates, Velentium
Track: Tech Theater

In this presentation, you’ll learn the cybersecurity activities you should be performing during your team’s development lifecycle and post-market from a peer in the medical device field. You’ll also learn why these measures matter, and how to better manage your product during development, as well as in the field.


2:00-2:30 p.m.
How to Survive Cultural Disruption from Disruptive Technology
Will Healy III, Balluff
Track: Smart Manufacturing: Robotics & AI

It seems that every week a new technology development promises to dramatically improve factory productivity and improve the bottom line. But such innovations can also disrupt your organization’s culture. This session will present a much-needed roadmap to manage organizational change to achieve positive impacts.


Wednesday, December 2

8:00-8:45 a.m.
Keynote – Leading Change in Medical Device Packaging
Amy Stewart, Printpack Medical
Track: Keynote, MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

On any given day, one in every 31 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. But medical device manufacturers, packaging suppliers, and package designers are rethinking packaging integrity and leading the charge toward greater patient safety.


9:00-9:30 a.m.
Ethylene Oxide Sterilization - An FDA and EPA Update
Mac McKeen, Boston Scientific
Track: MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a major initiative to reduce the amount of EO used to sterilize medical devices, and to address fugitive emissions in response to a proposed rule by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This session will help affected companies develop compliance methodologies and avoid disruptions to sterilization supply chain networks.


9:30-10:00 a.m.
Driving Innovation in Medical Device Packaging
Rod Patch, Johnson & Johnson Vision, and Jennifer Benolken, DuPont
Track: MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

Industry collaboration is helping improve medical device packaging, and a recently formed LinkedIn group, Kilmer Innovations in Packaging, is a believer. It has recruited more than 150 members of the sterility assurance value chain — medical device manufacturers and other healthcare-related pros — to drive innovation through mutual understanding.


10:00-10:30 a.m.
Developing International Consensus Standards for Sterile Packaging Meeting Regulatory Requirements
Thierry Wagner, DuPont
Track: MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

The most recent revision of ISO 11607, “Packaging for Terminally Sterilized Medical Devices,” published in February 2019, isn’t quite harmonized with the packaging-related expectations of the European Union’s Medical Device Regulations (MDR). This session will provide a progress report, and consider future developments from risk management to tomorrow’s more sustainable, circular economy.


10:30-11:00 a.m.
Stability Testing for Package Labels
Wendy Mach, Nelson Laboratories
Track: MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

This session will review how to demonstrate maintenance of a sterile barrier system over time. It will look at differences between real-time aging and the use of accelerated aging, conditions tested, and how these need to be managed within the new MDR and ISO 11607 revision.


11:00-11:30 a.m.
How to Make Medical Packaging More Sustainable
Jennifer Griffin, Medtronic
Track: MedTech Mornings: Medical Packaging

Medical packaging is a late-adopter of sustainable packaging due to stringent regulations and safety concerns. Amid hurdles for ensuring clear labeling and maintaining sterility (when required), this session brings new efforts to light to shrink the footprint of medical packaging, reduce waste and enable more efficient storage.


1:00-1:45 p.m.
Lifecycle Assessments for Packaging: What You Need to Know
Prashant Jagtap, Trayak
Track: Advancements in Packaging

Packaging sustainability (and more recently, circularity) has gone from a “nice-to-have” feature to a veritable requirement. This session will explain how to create a lifecycle assessment (LCA), identify supply chain problem areas, and integrate LCA findings into your packaging lines from sourcing to conversion to distribution.


1:30-2:15 p.m.
Coopetition: The Key to Packaging Sustainability?
Lisa Spicka, Maracuja Solutions
Panelists: Alyssa Harding, OSC2, and Jake Hebert, Futamura Group
Track: Advancements in Packaging

The basic principle of coopetition, in which competitors collaborate to address shared challenges, helps each party become more competitive. One specific example that will be covered: How coopetition is being used in the packaging arena to develop new biodegradable materials and solve the complex sourcing challenges that come with them.


2:00-2:45 p.m.
The Economics of Flexible Packaging
Todd Meussling, Reynolds Presto Products Co.
Track: Advancements in Packaging

This session will feature an expert panel covering the value-chain with raw materials suppliers, converters, and flexible packaging users. They’ll discuss innovations spanning COVID-19 and healthcare packaging to new pouch formats and machines to how flexible packaging applications can benefit with the right automation and the use of consumer data.


Packaging Design

What Beautiful Packaging: Bob Dylan Bootleg Whiskey

Heaven's Door Spirits Dylan Bottle Bootleg Series 2 packaging

Bob Dylan, one of the world's most influential and groundbreaking artists, has an entrepreneurial side as well.  He's been involved for the past several years in Heaven's Door Spirits, a collaboration with Spirits Investment Partnership. Referencing one of the artists many hits, it's Dylan’s first and only consumer brand partnership in a 50-year run as a worldwide cultural icon.

The brand has just announced the second release in the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series. From a packaging design standpoint, it’s a beauty of a gold-standard hit.

To carry the allusion a step further relative to an old-school vinyl record, I’d call it a double-sided hit in that both the primary and secondary packaging are richly appointed.

Named in tribute to Bob Dylan's famed series of eponymous retrospective album collections, the Bootleg Series is a limited-edition collection of rare whiskeys and special blends. The 2020 release features a cask-strength, 15-year-old Straight Bourbon finished in 30-year-old Jamaican Pot Still Rum Casks.

With fewer than 3,000 bottles offered, the 2019 inaugural release of The Bootleg Series (Vol I), received The Chairman's Trophy and was named to the Top 100 Spirits at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2020. Shown below, the 2019 Vol 1 release sold out immediately upon release.

Heaven's Door SpiritsDylan 2019 Bootleg 1 release

This year the brand has upped its design game above and beyond last year’s impressive release. This new Bootleg Vol 2 release is filled in a handmade ceramic bottle featuring Bob Dylan's painting, Sunset, Monument Valley, protected in a handsome, individually numbered leather journal.

The striking, warmly orange hues of his artwork is reproduced with dramatic effect on the bottle. I’d forgotten that he’s a painter, much less a highly accomplished one.

The image of the bottle positioned in front of the dark-green leather of the case as seen below that offers gold embossing and detailed scrollwork is a masterful still-life study in complementary contrasts. I love the comforting, inviting feel of a leather book-style cover like this.

A detail that adds to the collective effect is the stamp label with Dylan’s signature that stretches from bottle to matched cap.

Heaven's Door SpiritsDylan Bottle Bootleg Series 2

The packaging is a benchmark of superior design craftsmanship.

I’m not particularly a Dylan devotee, yet I wanted to gain insights from one. I had to look no further than my manager’s manager, Jamie Hartford, content director, Informa Markets – Engineering, who provided the following insights: “The word that comes to mind is ‘authentic.’ The handmade bottle, the individually numbered journal, the connection to Dylan (who both wrote and performed his own songs, versus today’s auto-tuned, inauthentic pop stars)—they all speak to what I’ve heard is a trend toward consumers desiring authenticity. For years we’ve been sold mass-produced junk that’s meant to be thrown in the trash when it’s expended. Something like this begs you to save the bottle because the product is ‘crafted’ rather than manufactured in large quantity.”

Well stated, Jamie.

With fewer than 3,000 bottles for sale at a suggested retail price of $499.99, Bootleg Series Vol II is available for pre-order on and will be available in select retailers in early November.

Heaven's Door Spirits handcrafted whiskeys debuted in 2018 as the “perfect melding of art and craft,” with each bottle featuring Dylan's unique ironwork sculptures including the trio below of releases introduced in Europe earlier this year. Turned out that the high-end, distinctively classy launch design was an auspicious opening act for other releases to follow.

Update November 18: We learned that the design was orchestrated by the Studio One Eleven, a division of Berlin Packaging. 

Heaven's Door SpiritsHeavens Door Spirits Three Bottles Europe



Packaging Career Development

Nestlé Box Doctor Uses Factory Smarts in Service of Sustainability

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Kelsey Olivero, aka the “Box Doctor,” is a packaging associate specialist at Nestlé USA, and her path into the field was unconventional. Prior to joining Nestlé’s packaging team, she worked in factories, on manufacturing lines, as a problem solver. In a recent video, Olivero describes her transition to packaging, as well as her passion for sustainability and “working on projects that will improve the planet for generations to come.” Learn more about how she became the Box Doctor in this video.