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Articles from 2018 In December


Top packaging quotes of 2018

Top packaging quotes of 2018

Notable insights and sound bites Packaging Digest heard this year from experts at companies including Amazon, Frito-Lay, Anheuser Busch, HAVI, Jabil Packaging Solutions and others that are worth repeating.

“I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.”

Lou Holtz, Sports Analyst

As deliverers of information and news, packaging journalists are privileged to interview some of the best and brightest minds and visionaries in the business. We ask a lot of questions and frequently tough ones, but when we know more, then our readers do, too. Even after decades of interviews, we remain impressed by the insightful, fascinating and even brilliant things people tell us.

Because many are worth repeating, we’ve taken a fresh look at PD’s annual end-of-year Top or Best of lists to put the spotlight on a selection of “notable quotables” that are intended to be a breezy, visually-driven informative review.

Sources range from brand and marketing managers to C-Level executives to consultants to vendor experts and others for topics that include ecommerce, sustainability, robotics, package design, ocean plastics, IoT and smart packaging, 3D printing and other on-trend issues.

Enough with the introductory verbosity, let’s kick off our slideshow with a quote from a world-class company that seems to have the ear of billions across the globe when its managers speak. It is, of course, ecommerce front-seat driver Amazon, which discloses its ultimate mission on the next page.

 

From How Amazon developed a leak-free trigger sprayer

Next: Amazon made news headlines regarding its incentive program, and PD’s analysts provided their insightful context to the groundbreaking news.

 

Amazon PQ Brian Wagner for Top Quotes of the Year

From Packaging analysts applaud Amazon’s new incentive program

Next: PepsiCo Frito-Lay doubles down on making packaging sociable.

 

From Lay’s Potato Chip bags use smile power to help kids in need

Our “two for one” special includes another campaign further demonstrating the company’s socially-adept skillset.

From ‘Note-able’ Frito-Lay snacks packaging allows consumers to get personal

Next: Who knew that wireless technology expertise would be fundamental to a packaging development?

Quote Conductive Intelligence Greg Clark 

From Consumers can heat products on the go with smart packaging

Next: Home delivery of medications and medical supplies is on the rise—and that’s a healthy thing. 

From Medical packaging revamp cures sustainability concerns

Next: The trend in clean labels expands beyond the ingredients.

 Quotes HAVI Clean Packaging

From Clean packaging: The next step in consumer transparency

 Next: Using packaging to unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things.

Quotes Smarter IoT Packaging 

From How to make smart packaging even smarter

Next: Is the problem really ocean plastics?

 

From A sea of voices: Trends and perspectives in marine plastic pollution

Next: Market shifts and the unexpected benefits of flexible packaging.

Quotes flexible pkg Nova

From How flexible packaging trends are shifting and why

Quotes EcoPack clear benefits

From Unique food crate with supply-chain benefits takes root

Next: Two viewpoints on 3D printing for packaging and production.

Packaging Digest reported on the hot topic of 3D printing several times in 2018

 Quotes 3D printing Carl Dekker

From How 3D printing helps with packaging parts and prototypes

And there was this advice from long-time Packaging Digest contributor John Henry:

 

 
From How to assemble a Franken-line, without the monster headaches

Next: A cautionary tale about holistic design and packaging fails.

 Quotes Joe Pagliaro holistic design

From For want of a locating lug…the saga of a badly designed bottle

Next: The incredible one-bottle 4-pack.

Quotes TOAk Walter Apodaca 

From Novel tea steeped in packaging innovation

Next: Who knew the end was in sight?

Just as we’re getting to know these pioneering personable cobots better in this mid-year feature…

 Quotes Rethink Robotics

From Cobots in packaging 2018: A debriefing with Rethink Robotics

...but by  December it was already time to bid farewell to Rethink, which was unexpectedly closed down; you can read the rest of the story in Bye-bye Baxter, so long Sawyer

Next and last: Packaging gets smarter for Anheuser Busch and for Amazon

Quotes AB Keenan Thompson

From Budweiser brings a flash of smart-packaging genius to the FIFA World Cup

As a bookend to our start with Amazon we end the Top Quotes of the year with a final reference to the retail behemoth.Quotes Jabil Pkg Amanda Williams

From Smart packaging helps boost Amazon’s auto-replenish service

Packaging trends that dominated in 2018
Photo credit: iQoncept – adobe.stock.com

Packaging trends that dominated in 2018

Sustainability, ecommerce, customer experience, cannabis and snacking stand out, along with other trends, that represent significant influences on packaging design, development and production this year.

Our end-of-year analysis revealed these 11 most-popular packaging-trends-related articles, based on page views from our global audience. We start where nearly all new package development projects start: With the consumer. First up are new consumer views on sustainability from an expert in socio-cultural trends…

11. 4 new consumer sustainability trends and their packaging implications

Have you noticed that people have a different relationship with their physical stuff now in our digitalized world? Sharon Greene did. She’s director of socio-cultural trends and strategy development at strategic management consulting company Alice Labs. In a short video, she explains how four new consumer sustainability trends offer opportunities for packaging developers:

1. Repurpose

2. Reuse

3. Research

4. Rejoice

NEXT: Consumers’ shifting shopping habits

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

SmartLabel

10. Consumers’ shifting shopping habits create packaging challenges

With a smartphone, consumers can access virtually any info at the touch of a button. SmartLabel, an initiative supported by the Grocery Manufacturer’s Assn. (GMA), makes that even easier by providing transparency to consumers through web pages accessed through a search, quick-response (QR) code, app or retailers’ customer service desks. Stephen Kaufman, chief product officer for label and artwork management technology provider BLUE Software, weighs the pros and cons of the SmartLabel.

His assessment: “By carefully weighing the pros and cons of SmartLabel, CPG [consumer packaged goods] companies can begin to determine whether easily accessible product landing pages can be a boon to sales, as well as exactly what information should be included—beyond federal mandate—to ensure everything remains brand compliant.”

NEXT: Revelations from major brand owners

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Campbell-Yes-Soup

9. Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more

Smaller entrepreneurs often thrill with unique and winning product/package ideas. But one reason major brand owners are, well, major is because they have the resources and clout to execute on forward-thinking technologies.

For example:

• Garry Kohl, senior director R&D, snacks category, global packaging innovation at PepsiCo, talks about Frito-Lay’s “Holy Grail” pursuit in bioplastics: “We’re even looking at biodegradable packaging that you could flush down your toilet. Our goal is to develop packaging that [truly] disappears in the ocean.”

• Robert Weick, vp packaging R&D, Campbell Soup, shares the company’s ecommerce plans and says, “The challenge is to design for the unknown, such as discovering a closure leaks when the packaging isn’t kept upright when shipped via ecommerce.”

• The “more” in the headline are two innovative plastic packaging technologies:

1. The first commercial launch of the LiquiForm airless molding technology into market for an embossed bottle for Nature’s Promise brand hand soap. The technology uses the packaged product instead of compressed air to simultaneously form and fill containers. By combining forming and filling into one step, the process eliminates costs associated with the equipment and energy of the traditional blow-molding process along with the handling, transport and warehousing of empty containers.

2. The SureHandle 2-liter PET bottle from Pretium Packaging offers exceptionaltop-load strength that allows brands to eliminate secondary packaging like cases for shipping. The strengthening effect of the handle acts as a flying buttress support, like medievel cathedral ceilings.

NEXT: How to escalate the user experience

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

April-2018-Word-Cloud

8. Today’s packaging design trends emphasize user experience

We all know packaging can give a brand an experiential advantage, enticing consumers to pick up their product and put it in the shopping cart instead of a competitor’s. During our review of the five best-read articles in April 2018, we noticed a theme around elevating the user’s experience through packaging design.

Here are the articles that sprung to the top near the budding of what turned out to be quite a creative year:

1. Packaging trends on fire this year [You’ll see this again in a couple pages]

2. 4 sustainable truths impacting food packaging today

3. 5 top trends in cannabis branding and packaging [another double dip—you’ll see this again in a couple pages]

4. Chill-Can presents a new twist in on-demand cold beverages

5. 4 daring packaging designs that create magic moments

NEXT: Emerging trends in paperboard packaging

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Paperboard-packaging-trends

7. 4 emerging paperboard packaging trends

Packaging competitions showcase the best developments of a sector. But they also present a rare opportunity to see emerging trends among all the entries. During judging of the annual North American Paperboard Packaging Competition, the Paperboard Packaging Council identified these four:

1. Digital escalation

2. Everyday upscale

3. Dual- or multi-use designs

4. The cannabis craze [more on this soon, we promise—keep reading!]

NEXT: Early 2018 “hot” trends

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Trends-on-fire

6. Packaging trends on fire this year

Our early coverage of key issues confronting the packaging community—sustainability, ecommerce, flexible packaging, and plastic packaging advancements and waste challenges—hit the mark with our readers. We saw our first month (but not the last!) of record-breaking page views in March 2018, with these articles drawing the top numbers:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. How packaging recyclability can shift sustainability expectations for startup beauty brands

3. 10 impactful and efficient flexible packages win gold awards

4. How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

5. Packaging revelations from Frito-Lay, Campbell Soup and more [a favorite article from #9]

NEXT: As promised—the cannabis craze

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Cannabis-packaging

5. 5 top trends in cannabis branding and packaging

Despite the ethical controversy around legalized cannabis, we can’t deny the “high” interest in this growth category.

Pamela Webber, chief marketing officer at 99designs, points out five design trends that have dominated cannabis branding and packaging so far:

1. Leafy imagery.

2. Green in color and in ethos.

3. A focus on health.

4. Minimalism.

5. Playing with stereotypes.

Webber concludes the best is yet to come, though, as “…more sellers will lead to more diverse branding and more packaging design experimentation.”

NEXT: The creative, economic and production flexibility of flexible packaging

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Flexible-packaging-trends

4. How flexible packaging trends are shifting and why

A little behind the scenes confession: This article probably took the longest to put together of all the articles I did this year. But it was definitely worth the wait. And the effort paid off with massive readership every month since the article posted at the end of August.

Our virtual roundtable tapped five industry experts from various areas in the flexible packaging supply chain:

1. Resin supplier;

2. Printing press maker;

3. Extrusion/coating equipment company;

4. Film converter; and

5. Form-fill-seal machinery manufacturer.

Their insights—into trend drivers, challenges, future growth areas and sustainability shifts—show how this dynamic market continues to advance, despite some challenges.

NEXT: We were fast out of the gate in identifying the year’s trends

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Top-packaging-issues-Jan-2018

3. 3 top packaging issues emerge in 2018

Unfair advantage? Posted on Feb. 6, this article has had 11 months to gather page views. But I think not. Other articles in this “2018 Top Trends” list were published much later and had better readership.

What made this article resonate was the importance of the top three packaging focus areas for the new year—food packaging developments, sustainability and packaging design—as proved by our website metrics in January, which determined the top five articles of the month/year:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

3. Nature’s Path packaging takes a bold new direction

4. Proposition 65 and food packaging: A preview of coming changes

5. Pouch filling operation sets new standard in quality, efficiency [This article also appeared in the year-end list “A trio of packaging production tales that end happily in 2018”]

NEXT: A half-year check-in

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

10-Trends

2. 10 packaging trends and news rockin’ 2018 (so far)

In July, instead of reviewing the top articles of previous month like we usually do, we looked at the first six months of the year. Our half-year review revealed your continued fascination with sustainability and anything packaging design related (good ideas must come from somewhere and your appetite for examples is insatiable). And ecommerce. But this was the first time we start to see the “Amazon” effect (see #9 below), which will outdo itself in the last half of 2018.

Here are the top articles from January to June:

1. 5 packaging design trends on the way out in 2018

2. 8 sustainable packaging hits of 2017

3. Chew on this: Packaging trends for new sweets and snacks [more on this right on the next page!]

4. Decadent Delici dessert packaging designed for Costco

5. How sustainable are biodegradable and plant-based plastics?

6. Chill-Can presents a new twist in on-demand cold beverages

7. 166 new packages to inspire you

8. 5 top packaging developments in May 2018

9. Amazon on creating ecommerce packaging that’s great for all: Customers, companies and the environment

10. Nestlé Waters’ sparkling new packaging signals major rebranding

NEXT: Snack on this “trends” bonanza

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Snack-packaging-trends

1. Chew on this: Packaging trends for new sweets and snacks

Snacking is becoming American’s go-to nutritional bonanza. So, we’re not surprised this insightful review of the 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo—where packaging trends and snack trends intersected—resonated with packaging professionals. Veteran packaging writer Jenni Spinner mined these 10 gems of new products and trends from her time at the show:

1. Contrasting ideas

2. Solo snacking

3. Cake bites

4. Downsized delectables

5. Multi-part munchies

6. Same candy, new format

7. Fun with branding

8. Makeover time

9. Hip chicks

10. Rice is nice

Wonder what new trends 2019 will bring. What do you think? Let us know by commenting below.

********************************************************************************

In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

A trio of packaging production tales that end happily in 2018
Photo credit: Andre Nery -adobe.stock.com

A trio of packaging production tales that end happily in 2018

Once upon a time in 2018, a cobot manufacturer, a contract packager and Conagra all had compelling stories to tell of packaging production flexibility, optimization and sustainable performance.

Here, we present the top three packaging-production articles of the year, based on page views by the global Packaging Digest audience, who were held spellbound with dreams of greater productivity and ROI.

Universal Robots quote

3. Cobots in packaging 2018: A debriefing with Universal Robots

As manufacturers struggle to fill open plant positions with humans—qualified or not—they’ve been eyeing other, more automated options.

Earlier this spring, robotics “insider” Daniel Moore, who specializes in technical support at Universal Robots USA Inc., gave a quick yet thorough update on the fast-growing automation sector of collaborative robots. Advancements in vision, networking, interfacing and design mean cobots today have more reach, more robustness, more ease of use and more expandability.

Moore believes we’re at the point where everyone can use and benefit from a robot, especially as the company focuses on helping even the smallest shops optimize production.

The sector’s rapid growth continues, as does Universal Robots’ business. The year ended on a happy note with the hiring of 20 employees from recently-defunct competitor Rethink Robotics for Universal Robots’ location in Boston.

Cascata Packaging filling room

2. Pouch filling operation sets new standard in quality, efficiency

A growing consumer acceptance for flexible packaging and a boost in viscous liquid products in pouches—such as baby foods and sports nutrition products—represents big business for contract packager Cascata Packaging. Our early 2018 case study highlights strengths in several areas as the company leverages current market trends, including:

A speed-to-market advantage that customers highly value;

On-shelf differentiation;

Enhanced user experience;

The Amazon-ification of food—that is, the growth of ecommerce for groceries;

Consumers looking for healthy/organic foods that are also convenient and shelf-stable (non-refrigerated).

Conagra sustainability award winners

1. How Conagra rewards packaging line workers for cutting waste

When you work hard, a sense of accomplishment—and a pat on the back—goes a long way in encouraging employees. But formal recognition is a nice incentive, too. That’s the idea behind Conagra’s Sustainable Development Awards, a contest started in 2009 that improves packaging operations by asking for ideas from the people who are on the plant floor working with the machines and packaging materials.

In this profile, Conagra’s vp of sustainable development Gail Tavill shares details of three packaging-related winners of the company’s 2018 Sustainable Development Awards:

1. The Slim Jim operation in Troy, OH, eliminated more than 500 tons of film waste annually by modifying the cutting assembly on the stick pack machine, which also allowed for quicker and less expensive repairs and reduce unplanned stops.

2. The David Seeds operation in Waterloo, Iowa, saved 225,000 bags of seeds a year by purging seven bags instead of the previous 10 during start up before reaching the correct residual oxygen level during nitrogen flushing.

3. The operation in Milton, Pa., achieved a 2% yield improvement (projected at $350,000) while reducing 1,150 tons of wasted sauce per year by adjusting the filler. 

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

How ergonomic packaging helps improve pharma compliance
Photo credit: Photographee.eu – adobe.stock.com

How ergonomic packaging helps improve pharma compliance

It’s hard to imagine why any of us would not comply with the prescription from our doctor. After all, we initially went to the doctor to help treat our health issues. But then we veer off the path of taking medications as prescribed, only to return for a follow-up visit to lie about our behavior and complain that nothing helps.

Compliance is a complicated concept from the user’s standpoint. There are three fundamental requirements to consider in device and packaging design that leads to not only compliance but to preserving the user’s experience and dignity rather than dwelling on the emotional effects of dealing with their ailment or disease.

Let’s unpack why compliance is so tough from the patient’s point of view.

1. It must consider how humans are built.

Everyone has been the victim of impenetrable blister packs that are impossible to get into without some type of tool. Through extensive ethnographic research, the most commonly used devices to pry open or penetrate the package are pens, a knife from the kitchen drawer, and screwdriver or corkscrew. Thousands of users have reported injuries through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from trying to get into these failed package designs. Poking themselves with the tool or nicking their fingers on an exposed sharp plastic flange from the packaging is far too common and unacceptable.

In the pharmaceutical and medical fields, too many autoinjectors require six fingers and the strength of an Olympic athlete to use the product effectively. Buttons that are too hard to press, a product shape that is awkward to handle and does not allow the user to easily target their injection site, and underdosage due to use errors and poor technique are all frequent mishaps due to the device’s bad design.

Good design considers user capabilities. First and foremost is the concept of physical fit. For example, people with diabetes experience neuropathies that dramatically dampen tactile feedback, and as a result, any clicks that should be felt need to be amplified for their sensibility. People experiencing rheumatoid arthritis commonly possess only 5% to 25% of the hand strength compared to a normal, healthy hand. Users with neuromuscular disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, have issues with tremors that impact targeting and control over the injection site, meaning two-handed use must be considered in the design to stabilize the dominant hand in targeting and injecting.

To make matters more challenging, designers need to overlay that most people using autoinjectors (and the like) skew older. Through the natural course of aging, this introduces further complications of reduced vision, coordination, control, skill, and, in many cases, a slowing of cognitive processing.

Usability is all about designing devices, products and packaging that fit the way users think, feel, see and behave. Good design means that the impact a disease or ailment can have on user hand function, vision and state of mind are taken into account. This also includes variations in hand size, strength, range of joint motion and haptic abilities from 5th percentile female to 95th percentile male, hand-eye coordination and the acoustical signatures that packaging may provide as cues to reinforce proper usability.

For example, the industry standard EpiPen does not set a high bar for ergonomic design. While its 3-Step Instructions for Use are effective, the handling is not quite right. It needs a good “handshake.” The oval body needs texture on its lower one-third so it engages with the fingertips for traction. The fussy tamper-evidence plastic covering the injector site is tedious and time consuming. And, it should provide a 10-millimeter wide by 15mm long perforated fingertip pull-tab to optimize fingertip pull strength.

2. Read the instructions, please.

Instructions-for-use (IFU) represent a significant opportunity for improving compliance. Users are routinely confronted with IFUs that use a typeface that is too small to read, are printed on a high-gloss substrate that introduces contrast and glare issues, and/or list too many steps to follow. So, it is no surprise that people struggle with reading instructions, get lost in an extended list of steps, and are often confronted with ambiguity. One thing is for sure with human behavior, only when everything else fails do people go and read the instructions.

IFUs must be designed in a way that segments information so the user can digest the content bite by bite. For decades, research has shown that once a user surpasses seven chunks of information–think telephone number or license plate–their ability to process and retain information dramatically diminishes. The design of IFUs can easily take advantage of this known fact by creating steps and sub-steps that allow people to easily navigate this cognitive labyrinth. 

A best practice is to have five steps or less before subdividing within each one. And within each step, there should be a maximum of five sub-steps. Minimizing glare and contrast is easy to solve by adjusting the color and brightness of the substrate background or selecting a more matte paper stock. It is important for designers to know that many users over the age of 45 struggle with high contrast and, in many cases, use eyewear. 

There exists a classic debate with IFU designers about the use of embedded photographs versus illustrations versus words alone. Make no mistake, words alone are not effective enough

While photographs may intuitively seem most effective because they show the user the real situation, they include extraneous visual information that distracts from the fundamental point trying to be made in that step. The most effective strategy is to use clear and succinct copy with illustrations that specifically focus on and emphasize the behavioral outcome needed for success, removing all other visual noise.

For example, pharmaceutical companies need to take a page out of consumer electronics packaging where each and every touch point, from product and packaging design through to its digital fingerprint, consider how things sound, feel and look. Top: Nest does it best with exemplary packaging design. Bottom: A typical in-home setup for self-injection that looks more like a messy chemistry experiment.

 

3. Preserve dignity with emotional design.

Although tangible and physical design elements directly impact compliance, one of the most difficult factors of compliance is to design for dignity. Bad design, whether it be lacking in physical or aesthetic qualities, directly impacts user perception of their own health status, which in turn, influences their behavior. For example, test kits that appear more like chemistry sets or backbench lab experiments project complexity and fear in the user.

When things look unapproachable, users shun them, and in this paradigm, compliance drops because users want nothing to do with anything that looks scary, complicated or uninviting. The last thing users want to be reminded of is that they are sick and in need of care.

It is the responsibility of anyone involved in the design of healthcare packaging, products and devices to create solutions that do not erode the user’s sense of self-worth and remind them of their ailment or disease state. Dignity is a right of every human being, not an optional feature.

For example, 95% of the things people do every day is done with their hands. Good design is simple, intuitive and accommodates for variability in hand sizes, strength and reach. Because older hands lose dexterity and strength, they are the bar for usability and design. Based on knowing that, whatever they can do, healthy hands shouldn’t experience any problems with.

4 ergonomic packaging design tips

Designing for compliance is not complicated, but it does require traditional pharmaceutical manufacturers to rethink their manufacturing- and clinical-driven approach to device and packaging design—and adopt a user-centered design strategy. Designers need to consider how the user will interact with the product to fully grasp its functionality.

As you develop your pharmaceutical and medical device packaging, keep these four design tips in mind:

1. Integrate physical design qualities that impact fit and performance.

2. Understand the effects that illness or disease states have on a user’s ability to use their hands and obtain relevant feedback.

3. Embed ergonomic features that facilitate intuitiveness and ease-of-use.

4. Use functional aesthetics to guide user behavior by manipulating product form, texture, color and sound.

These fundamental tenets of good design directly impact a person’s conscious and unconscious willingness to comply with their doctor’s prescription and, when doing so, are not reminded of their compromised health. The most potent antidote to compliance is a user-centered design that projects an uplifting state of mind and reinforces a strong quality of life.

Bryce Rutter, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Metaphase Design Group Inc., is an expert in ergonomic design and a leading specialist in hand-intensive product and packaging design. His work includes collaborations with numerous global prestigious brands and high-profile start-ups on products ranging from robotic surgical systems, powered and manual instrument design, and drug delivery systems to disposables, mobile and wearable devices to personal care products, instructions for use (IFUs), and usability and contextual inquiry research programs. Under Rutter’s leadership, Metaphase has received more than 120 international design excellence awards and 117 patents. Email him at bryce@metaphase.com.

Top 5 food packaging hits of 2018
A special edition collection of the top-read food packaging articles of 2018 as determined by readers.

Top 5 food packaging hits of 2018

A quintet of food packaging megahits this year messaged food safety, show-time innovations and advancements, the value of packaging-powered smiles and sweet and savory improvements.

Packaging Digest’s top food packaging hits of the year compilation is an editorial quintet that first burst on the scene more than 11 months ago, and ended up hitting all the right notes for readers among the many dozens of articles published in 2018.

Revealed in reverse order, the opening act in our short list of the best of the best—plus encore content found at the conclusion—begins with a cautionary tale related to food safety and health issues that draw consumers’ interest if not also their concern. This certified hit feature takes our attention to the west coast where a number of music groups and trends have gotten their start, only to break loose onto a much bigger stage and gain national or even international attention.

This article found its genesis in a landmark proposition from the Golden State, specifically Proposition 65. Turns out that high-stakes changes are afoot for the well-known California regulation that will likely and more deeply impact food packaging and food packagers. Mitzi Ng Clark, partner, Keller and Heckman LLP, walked readers through an informative overview in addressing three key questions about what’s happening and what’s ahead:

What’s the backdrop to the regulation relative to food packaging?

What’s upcoming that packaging professionals should know about?

What about the impending changes is surprising or worth pointing out?

To read Clark’s responses that resonated with our audience, see Proposition 65 and food packaging: A preview of coming changes

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While presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more, WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) provides access to the industry’s leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________

#4 Hitting the big stage in Chicago

 

While the biggest bands and musicians play to packed stadiums, the packaging industry’s biggest stage domestically is McCormick Place in Chicago, which in mid-October hosted Pack Expo. The star-studded venue featured the biggest names in packaging highlighted throughout numerous product markets including the top-billed duet in the business, food and beverage packaging.

An octet of select innovations from that market each brought something new and different to take the spotlight in this report released November 1. As an encore, here again is that star-packed lineup in order of appearance:

1. A barrier food tray made of primarily of kraft paper—and looks like it, too—that’s 100% recyclable.

2. A near-field communication (NFC) tag integrated into the cap so that it can be applied seamlessly to bottles at production-line speeds.  

3. The North America debut of the Asepto holographic aseptic carton for beverage products.

4. A familiar name moves into the resealable liquid pouches market for the first time with a zipper-less, patented technology.

5. These high-clarity and sustainably-optimized PET food trays with several key benefits are also an NA first. 

6. The world’s first liquid refill system engineered exclusively for ecommerce distribution debuts.

7. A bulked-up closure system brings something new and convenient to the powdered and granular products market. 

8. This nifty little reclosure turns bagged products from boring to beckoning.

For the full long-play version, see Pack Expo 2018: 8 advancements in food and beverage packaging.

#3 A marketing plan to make you smile

 

There’s a number of songs related to smiles and smiling that have charted over the years. Similarly, veteran Packaging Digest contributing editor Kate Bertrand Connolly recorded a hit with a report on a  PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division program that put smiles on bags of Lay’s Potato Chips as part of a limited-time “Smile with Lay’s” campaign. For each purchase of one of the specially designed bags—which are printed with the smiles of real consumers—the brand is making a donation to Operation Smile, an international charity that helps young people who need surgery to correct cleft conditions.

The packaging design, which incorporates a diverse assortment of smiling faces, rolled out across the United States in February. Fourteen of Lay’s potato chip flavors are available in the grin-inducing food packaging. Sizes include 2.88-oz (three-serving) and 10-oz family-size bags.

In addition to buying Lay’s Smile bags in-store, consumers can go online to order a bag of Lay’s Classic Potato Chips printed with their own smile. Sarah Guzman, senior director of marketing, Lay’s, answered questions about the packaging and the campaign.

You can read all about it in Lay’s Potato Chip bags use smile power to help kids in need.

#2 Chewy chewy sweets and snacks

 

There were several hits from the 1960s, including “Chewy Chewy” by Ohio Express and “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies, that could preview the runner-up top article of the year in food packaging. It was fielded by packaging editorial maven Jenni Spinner, who in groupie-like fashion made her annual visit to Chicago’s 2018 Sweets & Snacks Expo joined by some 18,000 candy and snacks professionals. Spinner’s insightfully succinct synopsis, a multipage feature covering new products and packaging innovations, proved riveting for readers.

The 10 nifty new items and fascinating trends on display at the show were summarized by these quick-hitting summaries:

1. Contrasting ideas

2. Solo snacking

3. Cake bites

4. Downsized delectables

5. Multi-part munchies

6. Same candy, new format

7. Fun with branding

8. Makeover time

9. Hip chicks

10. Rice is nice

You can enjoy the zero calorie treats found in Chew on this: Packaging trends for new sweets and snacks

#1 A ghost of concerns past still haunts food packaging…

Our Food Packaging Top 5 of 2018 ended as we started: with a food health concern.

As with the movie Ghostbusters that possesses a catchy theme song, packaging also has its specters that could use some myth busting. Case in point: Food cans continue to be plagued by a nagging issue that, despite a number of scientific reports and studies to the contrary and industry changes, painfully persists.

It is, of course, the infamous bisphenol-A, aka BPA.

That’s despite the fact that, in reaction to market demands for more options in food safety, at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute in this timely report.

Robert Budway, president of the CMI, says, “Can makers and can lining companies take very seriously our responsibility to provide safe, quality packaging that consumers trust. Safety is our number one priority and we’re proud to contribute to a healthy, affordable food supply in a way that reduces food waste and respects the environment.”

Food can linings now are typically made from acrylic and polyester. And all new materials are extensively tested and are cleared by regulatory agencies before being sold in the market. Linings are necessary to prevent the can from corroding, provide a barrier to bacteria and maintain food quality.

As with any packaging material, though, trace levels can migrate into the food contained within, which is why there were health concerns about BPA. Despite reassurances about the safety of BPA from the Food and Drug Administration, some research shows that even trace amounts of BPA might cause problems with reproductive, neurological and immune systems in humans and animals.

The CMI stresses the remarkable safety record of canned foods: “More than 3,000 people die and more than 40,000 are hospitalized from foodborne illnesses every year, yet there has not been a single reported incidence of foodborne illness from the failure of metal packaging in more than 40 years and the consumption of trillions of cans of food.”

Budway answers Packaging Digest’s questions about the development of new food can linings in Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings.

And the hits keep coming: In this bonus extended-edition version of the annual list of the best-read features of the year, we round out the top-read food packaging stories of 2018 to reach a neat and tidy Top 10:

6. What ‘chemicals of concern’ are in your food packaging?

7. Clean packaging: The next step in consumer transparency

8. Sensational soufflé packaging reunites Delici with Costco

9. Flexible food packs bulk up with superior performance

10. Lamb Weston unveils sustainably optimized food packaging

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While presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more, WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) provides access to the industry’s leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________

Top news in November looks to the future of packaging
Photo credit: Faithie – adobe.stock.com

Top news in November looks to the future of packaging

Smart packaging predictions, Amazon’s new ecommerce packaging program with wide-reaching effects, and significant innovations galore starred last month with packaging professionals around the globe. The articles posted on PackagingDigest.com in November 2018 that were the best read are presented here again, in reverse order based on the total number of views:

Amazon FFP logo

5. Amazon incentivizes brands to create frustration-free packaging

It’s nearly three months since the news broke that Amazon is asking its vendors to design packaging specifically for ecommerce distribution. We’re still getting the word out to the international packaging community, though, which explains how an article that was posted on Sept. 18 shows up in the top article list for November.

To help reduce packaging waste and improve efficiency of ecommerce shipping for its vendors, Amazon will require that select products being sold and fulfilled by Amazon arrive in its fulfillment centers in certified packaging under its Frustration-Free Packaging (FFP) program. This means that the product does not need to be prepped for shipping (such as being enclosed in a zipper baggie to contain possible leaks) or put into an overbox.

Companies complying before the deadlines (Aug. 1, 2019, for the U.S. and Canada; Oct. 1, 2019, for six European countries) will receive a one-time $1 credit for each product properly packaged. After those dates, companies will be charged a $1.99 fee for each product/package not certified.

Brent Nelson, Amazon’s senior manager, packaging – sustainability, answered about two dozen questions about the new Frustration-Free Packaging Vendor Incentive Program in a free Packaging Digest webinar, which you can view on-demand by clicking here.

We’ll continue to cover any new developments. In the meantime, we’d love to hear what you think about the program. Take our short survey now, which most people complete in about three minutes. Access the survey here.

NEXT: Japan’s Kao Group makes sustainability look raku raku (‘so easy’)

Kao Smart Holder

4. Japan’s Kao Group makes sustainability look raku raku (‘so easy’)

In an exclusive interview with Packaging Digest, Michitaka Sawada, president/CEO of Kao Corp., tells us about the company’s sustainability philosophy, efforts and results.

Refillable packaging is among the successes this year, with all the company’s viscous products packaged in refills. Its BLP (bottle-like pouch) refills, which are designed for outstanding ease of use, are known in Japanese as raku raku eco pack, with raku raku meaning “so easy.” With the refill pouch, Kao has cut the amount of plastic waste from Kao personal care and household products sold in Japan by 74%.

These refills combine with the new Smart Holder, which enables the film-based pouches to be used as the primary product package.

NEXT: 3 ‘smart packaging’ predictions for 2019

Sharp End predictions

3. 3 ‘smart packaging’ predictions for 2019

Cameron Worth, founder of SharpEnd—a London-based branding agency that specializes in using the Internet of Things (IoT) to connect with consumers—introduces and explains three new areas of smart packaging in the coming year:

Prediction #1: More than 10 million fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) will be interacted with throughout 2019. And near-field communication (NFC) applications for consumer engagement will explode once the new range of iPhones become mass-scale devices.

Prediction #2. Brands are beginning to “in house” their innovation capabilities and laboratory programs.

Prediction #3. Agencies will begin to offer “IoT / Voice” consulting practices to capitalize on the growing interest.

Read the full article (by clicking on the headline link above) to find out what these predictions might mean to you and your packaging department.

NEXT: Packaging innovation awards celebrate excellence

Air Assist

2. Packaging innovation awards celebrate excellence

Excellence in any endeavor takes effort, commitment and passion. Here are 18 examples of packaging superiority in a fast-reading photo gallery, which presents winners of Dow Chemical Co.’s 2018 30th Awards for Packaging Innovation competition in three of the four tiers: the Diamond Award (best of the best); Diamond Award finalists; and Gold Awards recipients. Not shown are the 11 Silver Award winners, but we do include a link to them.

We start with the Diamond Award, given to Procter & Gamble for its Air Assist technology. A flexible pouch is made more rigid—adding to the package’s functionality—by selectively inflating areas to add stiffness to the multiple layers of film.

P&G won two other awards this year, too. Other companies recognized in our gallery are Amcor Rigid Plastics, The Coca-Cola Co., Ecologic Brands Inc., Delivering Happiness Ltd. (aka Garçon Wines), PumpArt System, Rieke, Sealed Air, Uflex Ltd., CleanCut Technologies, Kanebo Cosmetics Inc., PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, PepsiCo Mexico Foods and ProAmpac, Sonoco Products Co., GSK and Wave Intl.

NEXT: Pack Expo 2018: 8 advancements in food and beverage packaging

Pack Expo Food and Bev

1. Pack Expo 2018: 8 advancements in food and beverage packaging

Food and beverage represent the largest consumption markets of packaging. So it’s no surprise that any report about packaging innovation in this area gets attention from the packaging community, even from other quarters because new technologies often start here and then crossover into other product categories.

This octet of innovations seen at the recent packaging trade show is just a taste of what senior technical editor Rick Lingle unpacked while walking the 1.25 million net square feet of McCormick Place and talking with as many of the 2,500 exhibitors as time allowed.

Click the headline above to read more details about any of these developments:

1. A barrier tray looks and feels like kraft paper, with the distinct advantage that it can be molded into packages that are recyclable.

2. An NFC tag is sealed and protected inside a polypropylene cap by the plastic liner, so brand owners can incorporate connectivity via their package without slowing down bottling line speeds with a secondary NFC-tag labeling operation.

3. Laminated holographic cartons—made from rollstock—can also be foil stamped and embossed, gaining consumers’ attention on shelf.

4. New and patented flexible valve technology provides controlled dispensing and spill-proof containment of liquids in flexible packaging. The discrete flexible valve yields when pressure is applied to the product compartment, enabling controlled dispensing. When squeeze-pressure is released, the valve reoccupies and closes the dispensing channel.

5. New Elite modified-atmosphere packaging (MAP) PET trays for fresh protein products (meats and poultry) use up to 95% post-consumer recycled content, are 100% recyclable into other plastic items and offer high-clarity—just 5% haze.

6. The Dromo PET bottle—engineered specifically for liquid or semi-viscous products sold through ecommerce channels—is a packaging concept similar to the Kao Smart Holder you read about in #4 of this November top-articles list. A reusable cartridge holds the lightweight Dromo bottles—a 16-ounce bottle weighs 9.6 grams versus an industry standard 39 grams—which have opposing flat-side panels that provide sidewall strength and facilitate stacking during shipping.

7. Designed to address consumer frustrations with opening protein powder packaging and other larger size canisters of granulated and powdered products, the 120mm BAP (Bonded Aluminum to Plastics) Olympian Closure has convenient pull-ring removal and an attached or separate overcap. Benefits include built-in tamper-evidence and tool-less easy opening for large containers.

8. The lowly bread bag reclose tag evolves into a mini branded billboard with new custom-printed products, providing branding and promotional opportunities of otherwise common closures for bagged baked goods, produce, confections and more.

9. Surprise! Always going the extra step for you, Lingle adds a bonus item with two dramatic examples of corrugated packaging creativity.

Enjoy!

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Augmented reality brings pasta packaging to life
Pasta sauce brand Francesco Rinaldi recently updated with an augmented reality feature, enabling consumers to interact with brand spokesperson Mrs. Rinaldi. Photo: Jenni Spinner

Augmented reality brings pasta packaging to life

Francesco Rinaldi has given its traditional pasta sauces a 21st century twist by adding augmented-reality technology to its packaging.

The Francesco Rinaldi AR App (available via the Apple Store or Google Play) enables consumers to pick up the jar from the shelf, scan it and hear the story of the product directly from brand mascot Mrs. Rinaldi.

“Through AR, we are looking forward and focusing on technology, while staying true to our traditional pasta sauce recipes and Italian culture,” says Mary DeMarco, creative and branding director for brand owner LiDestri Food and Drink. ““The app enables us to reach a new generation of pasta sauce lovers by being innovative and disrupting tradition a little.”

To activate the AR feature, consumers download the Francesco Rinaldi AR App, open it, and point the camera at the jar. Then, Mrs. Rinaldi shares one of three messages about the products or new shatterproof container. Photo: Jenni Spinner

The AR technology features three different messages covering different aspect of the sauces, products and packaging.

• In one, Mrs. Rinaldi discusses the Alfredo sauces.

• In another, she talks about the recently introduced organic sauces (Basil, Onion and Garlic, Pomodoro and Portobello).

• Finally, one message talks about the brand’s new “Living Jar.” Replacing the previous glass jar, this shatterproof, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) container is designed to be lighter weight for a smaller eco footprint.

Other than the graphic design, the packaging was unchanged.

The AR-enhanced packaging rolled out across the U.S. in November. DeMarco says while the jars have been on the shelves only a few weeks, initial consumer and retailer response has been enthusiastic.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

How seasonal packaging can work hard for your brand
Specially designed seasonal packaging can give your product a nice sales bump.

How seasonal packaging can work hard for your brand

Winter is here, and with it all the glitzy brouhaha that surrounds the holidays. For most people, it is a time to surrender to the festive spirit and indulge in anything remotely “Yule.”

Savvy retailers know this and make every attempt to draw shoppers into the fantasy, whether through frosting on the windows, piped-in Christmas tunes or staff wearing seasonal jumpers.

Something else that appears on shelves at this time is seasonal packaging. A sprig of mistletoe here, a reindeer’s nose there can really make all the difference when it comes to increasing sales throughout December.

Idea, a specialist branding firm, claims that its client Toblerone boosted sales by a massive 400% after replacing its brand name with the words “Ho Ho Ho” on its packaging during the run-up to Christmas in 2006.

Keep these three tips in mind as you’re planning your next seasonal packaging campaign.

1. Choosing your holiday season

Depending on your product, not every holiday will be suitable for seasonal packaging. Food and drink normally does well on all occasions—Easter, Halloween, Christmas—and enthusiastic butchers have even marketed steak as the perfect Valentine’s Day purchase. Other consumables, like toiletries or cleaning products, might find it harder to make such a connection.

On the plus side, there are an ever-increasing number of celebrations to target, from world awareness weeks to discount shopping days such as Black Friday and China’s Singles Day.

“Think of holidays and events that may not be as obvious or help raise awareness to causes close to the brand,” says Hetal Pandit, director of branding and packaging design agency DCP.

She suggests that making small alterations to packaging is a great way to keep brands relevant in the minds of consumers, as well as increase sales.

Skittles did this brilliantly by removing the color from its packaging to support Pride,” Pandit adds. “Seasonal packaging can be cost-effective, especially if brands haven’t updated their designs in a while. But it is important to keep an eye on your budget and see what makes commercial sense.”

2. Don’t over-order

When planning some season-related packaging, there are more things to consider than simply the design.

One common pitfall to avoid is over-stocking products that feature seasonal designs. The danger here is that, come the end of the occasion, you may be left with stock of packaging that is no longer relevant once the season has passed.

However, there are ways to avert this. One tactic is to only include changes that can be removed, such as a label or ribbon. Another is to make small alterations that do not veer too far from the original design and are likely to be overlooked, increasing the product’s shelf life as a result.

In fact, keeping the brand recognizable is vital if companies are to avoid confusing their customer base.

In 2011, Coca-Cola went all-out in promoting its campaign to protect the endangered polar bear. After releasing 1.4 billion special-edition white Coke cans, it received numerous complaints from consumers who had bought the special edition believing it was Diet Coke. The company ended up releasing a set of alternative red cans to put right its mistake.

Huge corporations like Coca-Cola can absorb the cost of such missteps. This may not be the case for smaller enterprises, so the advice here is be subtle and plan carefully.

Pandit says, “Brands could even focus on winter packaging and make it less about Christmas so they can keep the product on the shelf after the new year and reduce some of the risk.”

3. Show them something special

At this time of year there is a lot of competition for shoppers’ attention. Adding a touch of creativity to your packaging designs is one way to stand out from the crowd.

Nutella proved this with its idea of offering customers the chance to personalize jars with their names—to great success. Coca-Cola soon followed suit, releasing bottles and cans with names where the logo usually sits.

Packaging waste has become a contentious issue in recent years. The public is more conscious than ever about reducing their carbon footprint and generally being more environmentally friendly. One way to respond to this is by offering reusable packaging such as ornate bottles or hinged cases. The Body Shop is known for this, often presenting its gift ranges in tins that buyers can put to other purposes once they have used the product itself.

Creating seasonal packaging for your product is a relatively easy way to increase sales at selected points throughout the year.

By including seasonal elements in packaging using colors, ribbons or alternate designs, you can turn your product into something many consumers will be looking for during special occasions like the holidays. Not only will it help to catch passing trade, but it can also create a lasting association between your brand and the season you choose.

Mick Clark has more than 31 years’ worth of experience in the packaging industry, the majority of this accumulated while working as sales director for independent contract packing company WePack Ltd. This broad portfolio entails taking responsibility for the everyday running of the company, advising many clients on day to day packaging, and ensuring the wellbeing of both the business and its workforce.

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In addition to leading suppliers showing the latest solutions in labeling, automation, food packaging, package design and more—WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) gives you access to the industry's leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits, the MD&M Medtech Conference and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today!

Returnable glass bottle ink improves reuse
A more durable ink improves the viability of reusing glass bottles, which offers significant environmental benefits versus recycling.

Returnable glass bottle ink improves reuse

More durable formulation optimizes the reuse of glass bottles to save significant amounts of energy and resources over and above the benefits of recycling.

A new returnable glass bottle ink to enable the the reuse of bottles in the drinks industry has been introduced by Linx Printing Technologies.

Once the Linx Black bottling ink 1068 has been used for printing batch and date codes and the bottles are returned after use, the ink is removed in the bottle-washing process, enabling new codes to be printed onto them ahead of reuse.

The ability to reuse glass bottles has significant environmental benefits. When glass bottles can be collected and reused, as already happens in the United Kingdom with milk bottles, far fewer bottles need to be manufactured. This saves significant amounts of energy and resources over and above the benefits of recycling. One source reports that when glass bottles are reused, 610 kilograms or 1,345 lb of carbon dioxide are saved for every ton of glass reused.

There appears to be keen interest in such an ink: Linx’s recent consumer research survey wherein essentially 90% of respondents to a U.K. consumer survey were concerned about the impact of soft drink packaging on the environment and would welcome a scheme to enable the reuse of glass drinks bottles. The survey among 100 U.K. consumers was for Linx’s voice of customer research, which is part of the company’s ongoing drinks campaign.

“Consumers are looking for solutions that minimize the impact of drinks packaging on the environment,” says John Tierney, marketing director, Linx. “The opportunity exists for brands to introduce effective solutions for the reuse of bottles. By ensuring the latest coding inks can be removed as part of the process, we are helping to enable the creation of these schemes.”

In addition to demand, the ink’s formulation also addresses the need for more durable codes than those currently achieved by other inks, Tierney tells Packaging Digest.

Available in black only, the ink can be printed on glass in cold-fill bottling and in humid environments. The ink has also been designed to cope with the challenges of providing clear, legible codes for bottled drinks; for example, by resisting removal when subjected to pasteurization, immersed in ice water, stored in a warehouse for long periods, or refrigerated. This reduces the likelihood of drinks companies facing product recalls.

Specifically formulated for use in Linx 8900 series printers, the ink is available globally through Linx’s worldwide distribution network, including the U.S.

“The new ink has been successfully trialed in a range of countries around the world, with much interest in Africa, and is now commercially available globally,” Tierney says.

Printing upgrade, too

In addition to launching the new ink, Linx has upgraded its 8900 series of Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printers with new software that is opening it up to more applications and delivering new competitive advantages for beverage customers.

With these enhancements, the Linx 8900 series is now capable of producing faster print speeds—by as much as 33% for one-line, seven drop-high print, now up to 440 meters/min or 1,444 ft/min—to enable higher production output in high-speed bottling applications.

Another benefit is the new prompted dates feature, which facilitates faster, mistake-proof message changes. When a message is selected or updated, the operator simply chooses from a predefined range of dates that are suitable for the product being coded. This means there is no need to manually edit dates, making the process quick and easy, which is especially beneficial where date accuracy is critical.

Also, the upgraded 8900 series’ new field insert option ensures faster message input with fewer mistakes. When part of a message is inserted, edited or deleted, the remaining parts of the message adjust automatically to best present the code.

“The combination of our latest ink technology with innovations in printing with the 8900 makes Linx the perfect partner for beverage customers,” says Tierney. “We’re delighted to be announcing these developments, which underline how we aim to create new products and evolve our existing ones to remain the best answer to every company’s coding needs.”

For more information, visit www.linxglobal.com

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While presenting the latest solutions in automation, food packaging, package design and more, WestPack 2019 (Feb. 5-7; Anaheim, CA) provides access to the industry’s leading educational offerings with the 3D Printing and Smart Manufacturing Innovations Summits and free industry education at the Expo. Register to attend today! ___________________________________________________________________________________

Compostable vs. recyclable: Which is better?

szakyblog040612.jpgWhen I recently posted in a New York Times blog that biodegradability isn’t what it seems,  and on Packaging Digest that we should be careful with biodegradable plastics and incineration habits, I got a few reminders that some compostable plastics are not made of PLA (polylactic acid), which is the most common polymer used for biodegradable plastics. Some are made of different types of biodegradable plastic that are more easily compostable in the backyard.

This is very true, and I think my question has now become, which is the more sustainable of the two options: recyclable plastics, or biodegradable plastics? We already know that incineration is not the best method for disposal. While it is often referred to as “waste to energy,” it might as well be “waste to air pollution” because it adds to the carbon emissions (already a problem) and introduces other toxins to the atmosphere.

I have always believed that recycling is the best way to go because it makes the most of the energy consumed to make the product. Composting is a great option, and is appropriate at times, don’t get me wrong. But let’s face it–it takes much longer and much more energy to make the majority of our plastics than the time and energy it takes to use that plastic. Think about a plastic cup: manufacturing the cup, and using the energy to make it, takes longer than it does to drink a soda out of that cup. In order to not waste the energy expended in manufacturing, the longer the life of the product, the better. It doesn’t make sense to throw out a pair of shoes that are barely worn, and same goes for a plastic.

Having the option to use recycled plastic replaces the need for virgin plastic made from virgin materials and more energy. Composting doesn’t replace the need for virgin plastic–it simply gets rid of a plastic product after one use. Rather than already having the material from which you can make your next plastic product, you will have organic compost, with which you can fertilize a garden.

Recycling still takes energy, which composting does not, but solely composting limits the end-of-life value of a product too much to give it precedence over recycling–especially when composting of biodegradable plastic still isn’t available on a large scale. Also, making a new product requires energy anyway, so the output of energy to recycle a product would be matched by that of a new product regardless.

One of the drawbacks to recycling is that eventually the plastic material will break down from being reused and recycled so many times and will face another disposal method. This is where composting would be the best option. A product with the longest life and most harmless end would be one that can be recycled, recycled, recycled, recycled, and finally composted when the plastic is too weak. I’ve seen bottles that are both recyclable and compostable (not easily so), but in order for that to be effective, that plastic needs to be everywhere, and still needs to be easily compostable in the end.

Composting and recycling both have their benefits (and their drawbacks) when compared to each other. What we need is for them to work with each other so that we aren’t forced to choose, and our habits can be as positive as possible for the environment.

Which do you view as the future of sustainable packaging?