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The Top 10 Beverage Packaging Developments of the year

10. Coke’s innovative “sixer” 6-pack of 12oz cans garnered a lot of attention after it was unveiled at last October’s National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention. The innovative packaging is lightweight, portable and easy to carry making it appealing to on-the-go shoppers and those on a budget.

2014 overflowed with articles centering on beverage packaging innovation. These include the following 10 highlights that include Hollywood-enhanced branding and atypical container formats comprising a hexagonal whiskey bottle, a paper wine bottle and worldly wines served in a pouch.

 Use the red Next button above to advance the Slideshow Gallery.

You read, we tallied and now present the Top 10 Beverage Packaging Articles of 2014 at PackagingDigest.com as measured by our website analytics. Our reverse-order listing is dominated by alcohol beverages and carbonated soft drinks, and starts with a rarity: a secondary package that made the cut. The fact it’s an innovative offering from a major brand owner likely had something to do with that…

 10.   A downsized, budget-minded secondary package from a major brand owner debuts.

9 . Star-studded alcohol packaging dresses up in style.

8. Proximo puts a hex shape on this bottled whiskey launch.

7. Another star-studded beverage can makes its Oscars debut.

6. These pie-flavored libations for adults come in Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie flavors.

5. This wine’s single-serve packaging is portable, unbreakable, resealable and worldly.

4. This paper wine bottle is a first in the U.S

3. What’s all the buzz about polyethylene furanoate as a feedstock for bottles?

2. This wine from Italian American television personality and journalist Giuliana Rancic drew a lot of attention.

1. Among all of our beverage packaging articles of 2014, this one was a roaring success.

Ecover launches home care line in plant-based bottle

Ecover launches home care line in plant-based bottle

Ecover’s new home care line has launched its eco-friendly brand in new sustainable packaging to mark its 35th anniversary. The green cleaning pioneer partnered with Sonoco to produce the plant-based plastic bottles.

“As a leader in the green cleaning space, Ecover sought a packaging partner who could collaborate on sustainable packaging solutions and meet an aggressive commercialization timeline,” says Andrew Moreno, procurement director, Ecover North America. “We also required responsive service and a near-site manufacturing facility to minimize lead times and environmental impact. Sonoco has the ability to provide all of this and perfectly meet our needs. We feel this new line of packaging will help Ecover reach more consumers while continuing to be deeply rooted in nature-based science.”

The new packaging uses Sonoco’s extrusion blow-molded bottles made from Plantplastic, Ecover’s proprietary blend of bio-sourced high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and post-consumer recycled (PCR) resin. The bio-resin, which is produced using plant-based feedstock and recycled resin collected from municipal curbside programs across the U.S., uses up to 90% less energy and emits 75% less greenhouse gases compared to petroleum-based virgin resin, and is recyclable in most curbside recycling programs.

“Sonoco is proud to partner with Ecover to become the brand’s HDPE bottle provider in North America, collaborating to produce a fresh new line of bottles,” says Jeff DiPasquale, vp, Sonoco Blow Molding. “Our material and technical expertise, responsiveness, and customer focus created a perfect match between Sonoco and Ecover.”

Flip Bottle reaches prototype stage in high-barrier PET

Flip Bottle reaches prototype stage in high-barrier PET
The Flip Bottle as an 187mL PET container in real life and as a design in the drawing.

This patented, all-in-one bottle and glass moves closer to commercialization in a prototype in the form of an oxygen-scavenging 187mL PET container. Learn more about this fascinating, one-of-a-kind package and find out what’s next.

Periodically over the past year and a half we have updated the saga of Vincent Allora, inventor and owner of the Flip Bottle, a unique, patented and one-of-a-kind container for wine and other beverages. Here are the latest developments regarding the invention starting with a newly created oxygen-scavenging prototype.

As a reminder, the Flip Bottle is a first-of-its-kind package that functions as an all-in-one bottle and glass. It is protected by United States Utility Patent Number 6,398,050 and can be manufactured to suit the specifications of any beverage currently available to the public, and would make for a perfect new commercial product launch. It can be personalized for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, religious ceremonies, and is a perfect package to take on picnics or serve at sporting events, concerts and other public venues.

You’ve got traction with the invention and you now have prototypes—please bring our audience up to speed on those fronts.

Allora: After the Flip Bottle article was published by Packaging Digest in its “Promising Patents” section of the May 2013 issue (you can read the full-version article here) we were astounded by the positive feedback and inquiries about our new package design, and the most frequently asked question was  “do you have a production quality prototype?” We immediately began brainstorming about all of the potential beverages that could use the Flip Bottle and quickly realized that almost EVERY beverage could benefit from our package design. So we needed to make a decision and came to the conclusion that one product in particular is traditionally poured from its original package into a glass to enjoy, and that is wine. Then we employed the philosophy of esteemed modern architect Louis Sullivan’s most notable phrase, “Form Follows Function”, to identify the criteria for the Flip Bottle prototype.

The prototypes were designed and engineered based on two critical elements; first to execute the functionality of our utility patent by creating a liquid container that functions as both a bottle and a drinking glass all-in-one package, and secondly to standardize the threaded narrow end of the container to allow it to seamlessly integrate into conventional or traditional 187mL single serving size wine bottle filling equipment. The latter galvanized our decision to create these prototypes specifically for wine and to maintain the industry standard 187mL single serving size.

We experimented with several different materials including glass, aluminum, and various types of plastic for our prototypes, but ultimately we used a proprietary, oxygen scavenging PET plastic for the bottle. It maximizes the shelf life of wine and is injection molded to create its unique shape and specific details. This design incorporates a standard ROPP threaded neck configuration on the narrow end to be compatible with standard 25H18 cap closures. The large end has a smooth lip finish for a comfortable and familiar mouth feel, with edge details allowing the proprietary bottom cap/wine glass base to lock onto the bottle. Finally, in order to contain and further preserve the wine in the bottle, we incorporated a proprietary, oxidation and leakage resistant removable induction seal covering the large open end of the bottle.

What does this latest development mean?

Allora: In addition to all of the individuals and businesses who inquired about the availability of production quality prototypes, we’ve since made numerous contacts with many other related businesses. From industry leading wineries, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage companies, bottle manufacturers and material providers, caps, seals, and closure suppliers, we are now able to provide all of them with our new prototypes. Additionally, now with our Flip Bottle for the wine industry professionally engineered and ready for production, we can begin to focus our efforts on designing and developing new versions for other beverages and applications, as well as explore the opportunities to utilize alternative materials and explore additional variations from our numerous promotional visual graphic presentations. The Flip Bottle can be adapted to satisfy the needs and imaginations of almost any interested parties. 

Who can we credit for the prototype?

Allora: Prior to the 2011 Pack Expo in Las Vegas, NV, we contacted Paul Bordner, the president of Laser Reproductions, a family owned and operated business in Ohio. They are a leading provider of rapid prototyping, manufacturing and product development services, and we contracted them to make our first-generation prototype. We worked closely and almost daily with their resident industrial engineer and 3D modelling specialist Ray Crabtree to create a quick SLA model of a 12oz version of the Flip Bottle re-using an off-the-shelf standard plastic soda bottle cap on the neck and a plastic peanut butter jar cap on the bottom. It was a suitable representation of the Flip Bottle concept to demonstrate to people at the show, which led to meeting with Ronald deVlam and soon after contracting his firm, Webb deVlam, to produce most of our visual presentations, representations and variations of the Flip Bottle for promotional purposes.

After PD's May 2013 “Promising Patents” publication was released we contracted Laser Reproductions again to create this production quality prototype. There have been over a dozen new prototype iterations over the past year and a half of this redesign process in order to achieve all of our benchmarks for the Flip Bottle. Throughout the entirety we have consulted with most of the industry leading bottle manufacturers, material suppliers, conduction/induction cap sealers, surface treating systems, and tamper-evident caps, closures and lining material manufacturers.

What’s next and where do you see this going in 2015?

Allora: In 2015 we plan on following-up with everyone who has ever expressed interest in receiving and testing a prototype including most of the industry leading wineries, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage, bottled water, energy drink, and milk and dairy companies. We will also be getting back in contact with all of the major bottle manufacturers to discuss possible collaborations or working partnership arrangements, licensing agreements, or sale of the Flip Bottle patent and intellectual property.

There is also a very serious and tempting new relationship we’ve established on this past Halloween to explore the opportunity to build and operate a manufacturing facility for the Flip Bottle in the United States, specifically in Colorado, to keep production domestic and create new jobs and revenue in the State and in the U.S.

Promoting the Flip Bottle through social networking websites, i.e., Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Vine, etc. is also a top priority for our business. In order to maximize our potential for success we are already in the process of creating additional promotional material with the new production quality prototypes, including print advertisements, video productions, and possibly radio and television advertising and commercials.

 We’ve gone from "Promising Patent" to Production Package to Promotional Product Premiere!

For further information, contact inventor Vincent M. Allora, founder & CEO of Silent Dynamite, LLC, at vin@FlipBottle.com; the website is www.FlipBottle.com.

Bud Light's new packaging creates experiences

Bud Light's new packaging creates experiences
Bud Light is introducing a new bottle designed to find out just how "Up For Whatever" its fans really are.

Lately, we have been seeing how variety and customization is playing an integral role in packaging across the food and beverage sector, especially as big brands are trying to compete against smaller brands who have caught the eyes of millennials who crave differentiation.

As we approach Super Bowl, Bud Light is jumping on the bandwagon by debuting a new bottle designed to see how “Up for Whatever” its fans really are. This is all part of the ongoing “The Perfect Beer for Whatever Happens” campaign that launched at the 2014 Super Bowl.

During the sporting event, the beer brand plans to promote the new campaign that will eventually feature more than 100 different messages scrolled on the labels. The bottles will keep the current Bud Light logo and colors, but each label will have a phrase that promotes Bud Light as the "perfect beer" for spontaneity.

For example, one bottle will be described as “the perfect beer for leaving your comfort zone in another time zone." Others will describe themselves as "the perfect beer for taking off the blindfold and showing that piñata who's boss." The first run of unique "Up For Whatever" bottles will have more than 47 different such messages.  

"Our fans will truly need to be 'Up for Whatever' when they're enjoying a Bud Light out on the town," says Alex Lambrecht, vp of Bud Light. "We think they'll have fun doing the ideas printed on our bottles. And people who prove themselves to be 'Up for Whatever' may just end up in a Bud Light ad somewhere, or enjoying a completely unexpected, unforgettable experience."

Top 10 packages of 2014 that warrant further food for thought

Top 10 packages of 2014 that warrant further food for thought
This breakthrough that landed in the "middle of the pack" is clearly a top winner

The votes are in: The Top 10 Food Packaging articles posted since January 1 as determined by our readers include coverage of a clear retortable can, a new application for K-cups, a sugarcane-based bag and seven others including a bottle whose presence here is due to its absence on shelves.

 You can launch the Sllideshow Gallery by using the red View Gallery button above.

The numbers are based on Page Views on PackagingDigest.com as determined by website analytics. Without further ado, here is the cream of the food packaging crop for 2014 presented in reverse order:

10. 3 of the sweetest stand-up pouches around reflect packaging trends.

9. 5 “purrfectly” designed packages for a certain food packaging segment.

8. This butterball design is no turkey—it’s an award winner that clearly breaks the mold.

7. This “honey” of a consumer-powered package isn’t your mom’s baby food jar.

6.  This first-of-a-kind package answered a retailer’s request to a “T”.

5.  This breakthrough container was the buzz at interpack 2014.

4. This industry first renewable PP film is definitely a breadwinner.

3.  Dog owners can control their pet’s food and the packaging with this customizable packaging.

2.  Don’t mess with my package: Fans lament J.M. Smucker’s removal of an iconic bottle.
 

And the food packaging development that drew the most interest  in 2014, at #1: K-cups are cereal-ized by this major brand owner.

Touchcode ink technology customizes consumer, package interaction

Touchcode ink technology customizes consumer, package interaction
Touchcode is activated when a smart device is touched.

A Sun Chemical partnership for conductive inks creates smart packaging that opens up new opportunities to create a “tailored consumer experience” through packaging.

One result of T+Sun, a partnership between Sun Chemical and T+Ink, is Touchcode, an embedded code. When touched to a smart device, Touchcode activates a range of options, including security and web interaction. It also collects “unprecedented” data analytics about users’ purchasing habits.

“Brand owners and converters are increasingly inquiring about printed electronics on packaging,” says Roy Bjorlin, global commercial director, electronic materials, Sun Chemical. “Touchcode is a great first step to engaging an interaction with consumers. We’re offering more than just conductive inks; we’re able to give brand owners a chance to interact with consumers in a way that has never been done before.”

Bjorlin responds to Packaging Digest’s questions about Touchcode in this Q&A.

How does TouchCode work?

Bjorlin: TouchCode can do many things. It can enhance the consumer’s experience with information, links to promotional programs as well as security.

The marvel of TouchCode is how it instantly and seamlessly transitions a brand’s physical product into a digital media platform. A consumer is no longer just purchasing a product, but a tailored experience. 

TouchCode enhances and encourages the consumer’s incentive to purchase through a menu of interactive programs, supplying the consumer with everything from detailed product information, links to promotional programs, as well as the security of knowing the product they are purchasing is direct from the brand manufacturer. What it provides for the brand are never-before collectable data analytics on consumer purchasing habits that supplies the brand with invaluable and unprecedented sales assets.

Sun Chemical’s extensive R&D commitment to TouchCode materials development and the expansive exposure to the range of converters and brand owners with whom Sun Chemical is partnered have advanced the development of a fully printable code which in turn has dramatically expanded the range of applications for TouchCode.

How is it applied to packaging, directly or via a label?

Bjorlin: TouchCode can be directly printed onto packaging. It represents a very significant bridge between print and digital in the packaging and label space. Touch Code is very suitable for label manufacturing as well. In fact, we believe TouchCode will significantly advance the range of applications for “Smart Labels.”

Any particular challenges to brand owner buy-in?

Bjorlin: There aren’t really any hurdles, but the roll out and messaging is something we are paying close attention to. TouchCode is a relatively simple technology to present, however, the potential it represents in terms of what it can do to enhance the brand requires a collaborative discussion from ideation to implementation.

What level of interest are you seeing?

Bjorlin: Our converter and brand owner partners are very enthusiastic about TouchCode and its possibilities.

About Sun Chemical

Sun Chemical, a member of the DIC group, is the world's largest producer of printing inks and pigments and a leading provider of materials to packaging, publication, coatings, plastics, cosmetics, and other industrial markets. With annual sales of more than $3.5 billion, Sun Chemical has over 8,000 employees supporting customers around the world.

Sun Chemical Corporation is a subsidiary of Sun Chemical Group Coöperatief U.A., the Netherlands, and is headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Packaging vendors prepared for item-level coding

Packaging vendors prepared for item-level coding
At Pack Expo, MG America displayed the ACE-BT300 Coding & Verification Unit, an integrated system for bottle serialization down to the unit level.

Healthcare product manufacturers have time to address some of the challenges in implementation thanks to the staggered deadlines for Unique Device Identification and a lengthy phase-in period for U.S.-market pharmaceutical item-level serialization. Solutions providers that exhibited at Pack Expo International and Pharma Expo 2014 shared their approaches in handling data and the packages themselves in an effort to provide the tight control needed for dependable line performance.

“We are seeing interest with multiple deployments for multiple lines,” observes Glenn Siegele, president of Omega Design Corp. “Companies are being progressive even though not aggressive, because serialization is not yet a requirement. They are developing an understanding of the infrastructure they need and planning for it, such as putting the printing infrastructure in place now so they don’t have to revisit it again.”

Much of the effort involves equipping lines with sufficient printing and inspection. And “most of pharmaceutical companies identify mass serialization with Data Matrix ECC200 codes (2-D) as the best and easiest method that incorporates the main information to be traced in a much smaller space compared to the standard bar codes,” reports Monica Cervellati, IMA LIFE Marketing Manager (www.ima-pharma.com), which exhibited its approach to serialization at Pharma Expo and Pack Expo. For instance, “the coding solution provides an efficient and cost-effective method to meet the EC’s requirements for pack identification put forth in the recently adopted Falsified Medicines Directive,” Cervellati says. (IMA North America Inc. is based in Leominster, MA; www.ima-na.com.)

Other vendors detailed in this report include:

Bosch Packaging Technology

Mettler Toledo PCE 

MG America

MGS Machine Corp.

Nutec Systems Inc.

Videojet Technologies

You can read the feature article at Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News.

Things to consider about adhesives in packaging

Things to consider about adhesives in packaging

In packaging, adhesives are a significant expense—and a potential area for savings when done efficiently. Typically, you will be bonding major flaps (the outside larger flaps) to the inside minor flaps. It might not seem like a deal-breaking process, but it can be if you are unable to meet customer expectations or if you are wasting glue in an attempt to keep packages as secure as possible.

For our purposes, we are referring to adhesives for packaging that requires applying adhesive to the minor flaps so that the major flaps can be folded over and pressed against it as the adhesive sets. In short, there are right ways and wrong ways to do this, and they vary quite a bit.

Below are a few tips for finding the right pattern to save you on adhesive costs while ensuring your seal is reliable.

When gluing, what should I consider?

Your top goal is customer satisfaction. Imagine grabbing a package or corrugated box and pulling on it as the entire major flap shreds in your hands. That is exactly what you are trying to avoid in most cases—but you also don’t want something that will open en route.

In general, your customers want something that will arrive to the end user safely intact. They want it to be secure, but they don’t want to have to destroy the entire package just to get inside—especially if they’re opening packages and stocking shelves on a regular basis.

You must also consider environment of shipping. For example, a package that sits in a hot truck in the South will have its bonds tested by pressure, and the adhesive itself could weaken. For environmental factors, that’s where you must consider the type and amount of adhesive.

But don’t forget your own expenses and the risk of using excessive amounts of adhesive. You can’t expect to douse the flaps with hot adhesive and expect to save on material costs. Consequently, you must adjust your math frequently to find the right amount of glue—no more, no less—to provide just the right amount of pull to pull the flap away.

What glue pattern makes the most sense?

There is no single perfect glue pattern. Because of that, packagers should understand that it is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to applying adhesives. Further, it does not always make sense to err on the side of too much adhesive, as that can run up your materials bill and not always make the customer happy with the end result.

The perfect glue pattern takes into consideration multiple elements: the adhesive itself, the bead profile, the width and length, temperature (as well as temperature of substrates), the right speed, compression and bond capacity that meets customer specifications.

As you might have taken from the section above, the perfect glue pattern varies from package to package, or more specifically, customer to customer. Expectations vary, so that’s where customer service and relationship come in. Essentially you must test methods and tweak each of the considerations above to find the proper gluing pattern.

How does a pattern controller make packaging more efficient?

Pattern controllers come in multiple forms and perform different functions, but in general, they do exactly as the name suggests. They control patterns and timing so that you limit human error and have more consistent gluing operations.

As you run an automatic adhesive system, you can see the box advance through the packaging machine. That includes folding the product, and folding the flaps together as the box advances through either erecting or sealing applications. A pattern controller will time phases of gluing and delaying.

The more you can customize the pattern controller, the more likely you are to find and consistently use the proper adhesive pattern to keep customers happy and prevent over- or under-gluing. Ultimately, using a pattern controller will help you achieve a more efficient operation so that you can limit waste and ensure that you are meeting the right standards every time.

Pierce Covert is the president of Glue Machinery Corp., a company that builds, sells and services industrial hot-melt and cold-glue systems used worldwide by a range of manufacturers.

The case of the bent bottle

The case of the bent bottle

"My labels are sort of wrinkling."

I'd been ho-humming it reading through the latest Packaging Digest and when Ralph told me this, it got my attention.

" 'Sort of wrinkling'?", I asked, "I'm sort of curious what that means."

" I don't exactly know, " Ralph confessed. "Some of them just look funky. I need you to come here and take a looksee."

When I saw his capper I suspicioned what the problem might be. When I saw it run, my suspicion was confirmed. The cap chuck used a tapered rubber friction insert.

"Fiddlesticks on funky labels," I told him. "Your problem is bent bottles."

"This type of capper needs downforce to get sufficient friction between cap and chuck. Your bottle is not strong enough to withstand the downforce and is deforming. As the cap tightens, a slight internal vacuum is locked in, preventing the bottle from regaining its original shape.

"It doesn't look like much but it is enough to prevent the label from applying properly. Since the deformation is not consistent, there is no way to compensate for it. "

Stronger bottles are a solution but that's not gonna happen. A different style chuck with more positive grip will also help. The best solution here is to add a neck support ring to the starwheel. This prevents any downforce from being transmitted to the bottle.

Don't let bent bottles get you down. More importantly, don't let down get you bent bottles.

Top 10 Food Packages of 2014

10. This Slideshow Gallery offers 3 examples of on-trend sweets packaging with flexibility, including this introduction from 1/3Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. that encourages sharing using individually wrapped Ghirardelli Minis in a stand-up pouch. Unlike many other stand-up pouches in the candy aisle, the Ghirardelli Squares pouch is not resealable.

The votes are in: The Top 10 Food Packaging articles posted since January 1 as determined by our readers include coverage of a clear retortable can, a new application for K-cups, a sugarcane-based bag and seven others including a bottle whose presence here is because of its absence on shelves.

Use the red Next button above to advance the slideshow.

The numbers are based on Page Views on PackagingDigest.com as determined by website analytics. Without further ado, here is the cream of the food packaging crop for 2014 presented in reverse order:

10. 3 of the sweetest stand-up pouches around reflect packaging trends.

9. 5 “purrfectly” designed packages for a certain food packaging segment.

8. This butterball design is no turkey—it’s an award winner that clearly breaks the mold.

7. This “honey” of a consumer-powered package isn’t your mom’s baby food package.

6.  This first-of-a-kind package answered a retailer’s request to a “T”.

5.  This breakthrough container was the buzz at interpack 2014.

4. This industry first renewable PP film is definitely a breadwinner.

3.  Dog owners can control their pet’s food and the packaging with this customizable packaging.

2.  Don’t mess with my package: Fans lament J.M. Smucker’s removal of an iconic bottle.

And the year's top food packaging draw, at #1 K-cups are cereal-ized by this major brand owner.