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

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


Articles from 2015 In March

Next-generation brand protection goes beyond serialization

Next-generation brand protection goes beyond serialization
authentiQ adds mobile functionality to QR codes, RFID tags, alphanumerics, bar codes and more.

There are a number of hot buttons that are touched by the patent-pending authentiQ technology: brand protection and authentication, consumer-friendliness and brand interaction, use of the Cloud and Artificial Intelligence programming, among others.

In short, the technology simultaneously provides marketplace traceability, anti-counterfeiting authentication and contextual marketing.

Adéna Shao, CEO, authentiQ, responds to Packaging Digest’s questions about this robust and intriguing new multilayered tool for brand owners and others.

What is authentiQ?

Shao: At its core, authentiQ's technology detects copies of your products in the marketplace.  On the back of this technology we also bring marketplace intelligence data to you.  Imagine you’re a hot brand but leaking profit to counterfeits.  As a brand manager, would you like to know that you’ve recovered true market share each time a copy is detected in the marketplace?  Not to mention who is interested in your product and where?  As a brand defense director, would you like to report to management in concrete terms the effectiveness of the solution you chose?

Why did it come about?
Shao: Like others, we started with serialized codes at the saleable item level in tackling product authentication.  We still start with serial codes, either codes that are generated by us, or those that clients already have.  

However, it's no secret that serial codes by themselves do not protect from copies.  For example, multiple copies can be made of an existing code. How do you know which one is likely to be the original code or a copy?  Another concern well known among industry insiders is the low rate of codes being checked, which brings to question the effectiveness of serialized codes in the first place.  authentiQ offers a solution that addresses both of these concerns.

How does it work?

Shao: The codes we generate can be open (overt) codes on the packaging or covert, or a combination of multiple overt and covert codes.  The consumer can check the overt code prior to purchase or post purchase via his mobile device by scanning, Near-Field Communication (NFC), texting, or a phone call.  The codes can also be checked by distribution channel staff and by law enforcement.  We find overt codes superior to covert ones in consumer friendliness, since the former encourage scanning/checking by the general public.

Each code checked is run through our artificial intelligence software to determine its plausibility of being your real product or not.  I am unable to disclose details, but let it be known that even at a scan rate of only 0.66%, our fraud detection mechanism is quantified at 99.995+% by Dr. Gunnar Pruessner, PhD, lecturer in Mathematical Physics and distinguished author.  Dr. Pruessner's publications include Measuring Probability Densities in Complex Systems, and Self-Organised Criticality: Theory, Models and Characterisation (Cambridge University Press).

Please provide examples of how this works.

Shao: Imagine a new mother in Xiamen, a growing Tier 2 city of more than 3.5 million residents in China, shopping online for imported milk powder.  She can scan a code during delivery to verify the provenance of your product.

Or imagine a distributor in India who receives a shipment of your luxury spirits.  He can scan codes we provide to you during his receiving process to verify the provenance of that delivery.

Yet again, imagine a cognac connoisseur in China who enjoys your products.  While he scans a code to accumulate loyalty points, we check for product authenticity and he (and you) are alerted should there be an anomaly.

Or imagine a diabetes patient in the United States or Europe monitoring her blood sugar with your test strips and consumer app.  We can provide integration with your app, so that the patient is prompted and able to verify the authenticity of her new pack of test strips, all during the normal course of her diabetes treatment.

What does it do differently or better than other methods?
Shao: The salient point is we’ve taken the next step to detect copies, tackling the gaping problem of weeding out false positives and false negatives of overt codes.  This is a seismic advantage above other systems that simply tell you how many times your code has been checked.  Our goal is to furnish information that is as accurate as possible regarding copies detected.  Here I quote Dr. Pruessner, "Compelling and impressive.  As I quantified authentiQ's solution, it surprised even me to find that authentiQ can achieve such a high copy detection rate with very low scan rates.  99.995+% copy detection with just a 0.66% scan rate is impressive."

While fraud detection can be achieved with very low check rates, a brand can still directly influence scan rates using our marketing features: coupon/loyalty programs are easily controlled through our system.

To be clear, we are not providers of QR codes, rather we provide useful functionality behind the codes, whatever form the codes might take on a brand’s packaging: images, alphanumerics, QRs, barcodes, RFIDs.  We give a higher level of confidence.

What are the steps to implementation? How much does it cost?
Our abiding principle is ease of use for each stakeholder, so the brand should incur ZERO internal IT costs, and ZERO friction on the production line.
Steps to implementation are easy:
1. The client simply signs on to our platform.
2. After sharing the relevant information with our system, either through our web front-end, or through ERP integration, we generate the serial codes, which the client applies on their packaging off the production line.
To preserve production line speeds, we offer brands several options on how to apply the codes:

  • using track and trace machines,
  • pre-printed on packaging before filling, or
  • printed on separate labels.  Labels and RFIDs can be applied on the production line.

Our pricing is competitive.  We guarantee the value you gain as a brand is measurable in hard dollars.

What options are availableto customers? 

Shao:  The brand has wide discretion on how the code looks on their packaging.  We are well aware that branding does not and should not take a secondary seat to technology.  We can integrate images, alphanumerics, QRs, barcodes, RFIDs, and when mobile devices become equipped with yet another way to connect with physical goods, we’ll integrate that capability as well.
Certain forms of the codes are more relevant for certain sectors and markets.  Where smartphone penetration is high, as it is in China, QRs have an advantage in that consumers are used to scanning them. 

In Africa, consumers tend to text more.  Checking post- vs. pre-purchase can also factor in to how codes manifest on packaging.  In addition, a brand’s consumer engagement approach differs from market to market.  We therefore also provide the brand deep marketing capabilities if they wish to attach marketing to the codes; for example, running coupon, loyalty programs and contextual marketing, the latter of which is another topic in and of itself.

Our philosophy is that technology must be useful to those who use it, hence we offer any necessary flexibility.

What role does packaging play in this?
Shao: In our eyes, packaging is the new frontier.  Packaging does not have to remain inert; it can take an active role in consumer engagement.  There is a lot we can achieve going forward, and we welcome partnerships in industry!  Are you in production line track and trace?  An aggregator?  In logistics scanners?  A label printer, an RFID maker?  We welcome you to work with us.

What markets is it most applicable for?
Shao: Our solution is sector agnostic—it is as applicable to pharmaceuticals, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods, food and beverage (especially spirits) as it is to high fashion.

What is the current status and where is it heading?
Shao: authentiQ is proud to have won a place in the Deloitte Institute of Innovation.  Watch for our partnership with a super-premium spirits brand in 2015.  We’re in advanced discussions with some early adopters, who are recognized innovators themselves. We are keen to roll out our solution with leaders in other high-value branded categories.  There is great potential, now more than ever, to work together towards solutions that protect vital consumer products.

USA: [email protected]

Europe: [email protected]

Asia: [email protected]

Recyclable displays “POP” attention at retail

Recyclable displays “POP” attention at retail
These POP displays are eye-catching, allow for easy deployment and are 100% recyclable.

Brand owners that want to provide an in-store boost to packaged products can consider using point-of-purchase (POP) displays that are available in compact, easy-to-erect and 100% recyclable formats.

There are many ways for brand owners to gain consumer attention for their packaged products. Our approach here at provides a wide-angle, yet focused view across the basic channels of primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. In this slightly outside-the-box view, we’ll take a look at 3D point-of-purchase (POP) displays from the perspective of Trumari. The company offers a line of “Lama” POP units that deliver on the proposition that displays should be eye-catching, 100% recyclable and be deliverable for easy deployment in a compact, lightweight size.

“Since between 75 to 85 percent of all retail purchase decisions are made in-store, having a display that is twice as likely to be set up is a critical element in supporting brands,” says Wayne Millage, president.

The Lama displays are patented, by Francois L’Hotel for Marin’s U.S.A, under United States Patent No. 7,159,350.

A “Three-Shelf Cargo Display” style unit used by Buckinhot BBQ Sauce as seen above measures 26-in. x 8-in. x 67.75-in. H.  This kind of Three-Shelf Cargo Display, which has been used by companies such as Zevia and Wilson, is designed to hold heavy loads like beverages or substantial packages.

This display was monstrously successful.

Trumari maintains that its displays are:

  1. Produced sustainably through patented structural technology and made of 100% recyclable materials comprising high-quality paper, natural latex rubber and earth-friendly inks; Lamas are produced in an eco-friendly, ISO-certified facility. The displays are reusable displays or can be disposed of in a traditional recycling bin.
  2. Foldable, compact and lightweight, and many can be shipped in a container roughly the size of an extra-large pizza box. As a result, Trumari claims that companies can typical save 65-75%  in shipping compared with traditional displays;
  3. They deploy easily with little to no assembly required: Users simply take the Lama out of the box, hold the top and unfold it; the display is designed to easily spring into place within a matter of seconds.

In the above example, The Walt Disney Company and Kellogg’s wanted to alert families about a fun cereal box-top promotion for free tickets to the Monsters University movie. The team created an eye-catching 6-foot tall display specially designed to be easily transportable in a compact space. The resulting display used at more than 5,700 grocery stores nationwide was a great success as an attention-getting merchandising solution.

Another tried-and-true display unit, a Column or Pillar Display, is shown featuring recent examples from Trident Seafoods and other brand owners.  The five- to six-foot Standard Display is available for general branding, promotional information and new product launches.

“In the past year, we’ve seen significant growth in the consumer electronics, beer and wine industries—and we expect increased demand in the food, and beverage markets,” says Millage. “As stores continue trying to reduce display sizes, the Lama is a natural fit across many store segments.”

For more information, visit Trumari’s website.

HotShot aims for the premium coffee market

HotShot aims for the premium coffee market
HotShot canned coffee is preheated inside the proprietary HotBox

This innovative RTD hot gourmet coffee relies on a systems approach to make it work using a “hot fridge” HotBox and insulated aluminum cans.

There have been several ups (HeaterMeals and HeatGenie) and downs (Wolfgang Puck Self-Heating Latte) over the years as marketers and inventors aim to provide a packaged product that self-heats at the time of use for on-the-go and away-from home convenience. The methods have been inventive and clever with an occasional misfire so to speak as noted.

The latest invention, HotShot, is an intriguing twist on this niche that puts the packaging in the heater rather than the heater in the packaging.

The idea is that the cans of ready-to-drink (RTD) gourmet coffee are stored in an innovative hot fridge, the HotBox, that keeps them at the optimum 140 deg F. The cans are heated by conductive heating from the HotBox through the bare can bottom (see image on the next page). Consumers simply open the HotBox, which can store up to 9 cans, and remove a preheated can.

Kickstarter launch

HotShot has several things going for it that make it a hot, atypical introduction including the fact it is a supported by a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. That campaign offers 9 levels of support, from $30 for 12 cans of product (sans HotBox) while a distributor pledge level of $900 or more earns 10 hotBoxes and 120 cans. As of 4PM on March 26, the campaign was 5% funded with $4,538 pledged of the $100,000 goal with 47 days to go.

"After a trip to Japan in 2009, I discovered hot fridges and ready-to-drink hot coffee," says Danny Grossfeld, the founder of HotShot. "After extensive research and more than $1 million in investment to optimize the product, package and HotBox offering, HotShot is a product that has been adapted from the proven formula in Japan to fit American tastes."

Read more about the packaging and the HotBox "hot fridge" on the next page


The all-critical packaging component of the product’s proposition is the use of aluminum cans with insulated full-body labels that allow consumers to comfortably hold a hot beverage.

As stated at the kickstarter page: “In order to keep our HotShots at the perfect drinking temperature without burning your hands, we've developed a revolutionary insulated label. Not unlike a drink cozy, the simple material keeps your coffee hot and your hands cool.”

Presumably made of expanded polystyrene or other foamed polymer, the full-wrap label enrobes the aluminum can body which, as is noted, can be easily recycled after the label is removed. The copy then takes a pot-shot at an alternative, the K-cup, stating that “more than 9 billion K-cups were landfilled last year.”

There also a cautionary warning about the use of the product as intended: “HotShot cans can only be heated inside our HotBox units. Do not attempt to heat cans in microwave, oven, stove top or any other way.  We cannot guarantee safety, quality or integrity of the product and packaging if heated without the HotBox.”

The product comes in four flavors, including hot chocolate. “Refills” are available in trayed 12-packs of single or mixed flavors.

Do confused consumers need more than a date code on packages?

Do confused consumers need more than a date code on packages?
How can date codes on foods and beverages help improve safety and prevent waste?

When it comes to food and beverage safety and waste, consumers often rely on the package’s date code to help them decide whether to consume the product or not. How are date codes helping in this regard?

“Best by” “Sell by” “Use by”—Consumers throw away so much food that still might be safe to eat because the current Date Codes are confusing to them. Without a better system, they figure it’s better to be safe than sorry. No one wants to get sick—or even die—from bad food or drinks, right?

How can date codes on foods and beverages help improve safety and prevent waste? Please take a few minutes to participate in this topic-specific poll about trends and challenges in date coding. As a valued reader of Packaging Digest, I would appreciate your thoughts. Your reward? If you complete the survey and give us your email address, I will send you the full, detailed results of the study once they are available.

To begin the confidential survey, which will take about 10 minutes to complete, click this link:

Thanks for your time and participation!

Campbell Soup exec: An entrepreneurial spirit is essential to packaging success

Campbell Soup exec: An entrepreneurial spirit is essential to packaging success
Go Soups in retort pouches show how Campbell's Mary Gregg helps her team think outside the soup can.

Campbell Soup started canning soup in 1869, and today is widely recognized as the category leader with its iconic red-and-white label. Yet in 2012, it boldly moved in a new packaging direction—a stand-up retort pouch—for its new Millennial-favored Go Soups.

Shortly after the launch, Mary Gregg, who is now the company’s global director, Next Generation Packaging, Research and Development, explained to Packaging Digest readers, “Campbell Soup is thinking outside the can to find ways to appeal to a whole new consumer. Our Go Soups have flavors that appeal to Millennials like Spicy Corizo & Pulled Chicken with Black Beans, and Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Guoda. These soups are packaged in convenient, microwavable pouches and are perfect for time-crunched 20-somethings.”

Adding a retort pouch to its lineup definitely created a new frame of reference for the company and its soups. It’s this type of innovative thinking that Gregg instills in her team, which is focused on long-range packaging development. She also leads the Packaging Community of Practice at Campbell, an employee group that concentrates on driving excellence for the packaging department globally.

During her 23-year career at Campbell, Gregg has worked on or led packaging efforts for every business unit in the company, including soups, simple meals, beverages and foodservice products.

The Michigan State School of Packaging grad also leads outside the company. She is a steering committee member of the PMMI Packaging Management Council, which is comprised of packaging development leaders across the Consumer Product Group who are focused on promoting best practices in packaging research and development management.

As part of our continuing coverage of the Leading Ladies of Packaging, Gregg shares advice for others who aspire to packaging leadership.

What advice do you have for other people (female or male) who aspire to be a captain of packaging? 

Gregg: It is imperative to build a solid technical foundation as a developer and to get established as technical leader early in a career as it is the cost of entry. From there, skills can be built that round out other areas of leadership. 

I also believe an entrepreneurial spirit is essential, whether you are with a start-up or at a big company. That mindset helps make connections to drive innovation and also can work to inspire the teams that you lead to greater achievements. 

Lastly, follow your passion as it is important to enjoy the journey.

Mega-merger forms The Kraft Heinz Co.

Mega-merger forms The Kraft Heinz Co.
Merger results in the 3rd largest food and beverage company in North America.

The proposed merger to form the world’s fifth largest food and beverage company will have revenues of approximately $28 billion with eight $1+ billion brands will be co-headquartered in Pittsburgh and Chicago areas.

Today’s announcement of the merger between the H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods Group changes the landscape in the consumer packaged goods segment. And it likely has ramifications for packaging vendors sooner or later. While that will unfold in the months ahead, what’s known now is that the integrated company:

  • Creates the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world;
  • Joins two portfolios of beloved brands, including Heinz, Kraft, Oscar Mayer, Ore-Ida and Philadelphia;
  • Has eight $1+ billion brands and five brands between $500 million and $1 billion;
  • Presents substantial opportunity for synergies of the increased scale of the new organization and sharing of best practices and cost reductions;
  • Will result in increased investments in marketing and innovation and an estimated $1.5 billion in annual cost savings implemented by the end of 2017;
  • Offers strong platform for organic growth in North America, as well as global expansion, by combining Kraft's brands with Heinz's international platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by both Heinz and Kraft's Boards of Directors, Kraft shareholders will own a 49% stake in the combined company, and current Heinz shareholders will own 51% on a fully diluted basis. Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of $16.50 per share. The aggregate special dividend payment of approximately $10 billion is being fully funded by an equity contribution by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

The press release via PRNewswire is available here.

Walmart’s CleanPath concentrates advance Replenish refill packaging

Walmart’s CleanPath concentrates advance Replenish refill packaging
Walmart's CleanPath concentrated cleaning and personal care products use the Replenish reusable bottle with refill pods.

Great packaging design ideas succeed when they can be scaled up at a reasonable cost to ensure profitability. Selling a concept to mega-retailer Walmart usually means kicking it into high gear when it comes to volume.

The innovative Replenish refill packaging system can now check both items off its To Do list. Last November, Replenish announced a new partnership with Berry Plastics for the optimization and efficient manufacture of the reusable bottles and refill pods. With the scale-up in place, Walmart selected Replenish for its line of CleanPath concentrated cleaning and personal care products.

Jason Foster, founder of Replenish, will be speaking at the upcoming SustPack 2015 conference (Mar. 31-Apr. 2; Orlando, FL) about “Making it to the Big Leagues: Not Your Grandparent’s Spray Bottle—Building a New Platform for Concentrates and How the Future of Reuse Should Look Like”

Foster talks about these recent developments in an exclusive Packaging Digest interview.

What is the sustainability profile of the Replenish Refill System versus traditional refills?

Foster: Many of the household products we buy, including cleaners and soaps, are 90% water. Replenish’s Refill System saves money and reduces waste by making it easy to add water at home to your favorite products with a reusable bottle that attaches directly to a concentrate refill pod. Since each refill pod makes three bottles, consumers get more of what they need instead of being forced to buy mostly water and plastic.

By not shipping water and using a reusable bottle, Replenish cuts plastic, energy and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to buying disposable plastic bottles. 

Our goal is to work directly with brands and retailers to use Replenish technology as a platform for sustainable innovation and to make packaging a strategic asset, not something you throw away. 

How has Berry Plastics facilitated the commercialization of the Replenish Refill System?  

Foster: Berry was instrumental in helping us take a great design and scale it to full automation and mass production. The design and utility of a bottle hasn’t really changed in hundreds of years. Most bottles are blow molded which wasn’t a manufacturing process we could use to make Replenish. Therefore, Berry had to rethink the manufacturing process and come up with a new way to manufacture Replenish at scale, which was quite an achievement.

How were you able to offer an affordable version of the Replenish Refill System to Walmart’s customers through your partnership with the retailer for its CleanPath brand?

Foster: Because of the success Walmart had in 2008 moving liquid laundry detergent to 3x concentrate, Walmart quickly recognized the advantages of moving other consumer products that are mostly water today to concentrate. Once you dig deeper, it’s easy to understand why. It’s a rare quadruple bottom line win for Walmart. Concentrates drive more revenue density on shelf, consumers save money on their purchase, costs are reduced across the entire supply chain and massive sustainability savings are created in every aspect of the product’s lifecycle.

Replenish’s Refill System was a platform designed specifically for concentrates with a new integrated design that not only stored the concentrate refill but made it easy to mix with water—something previous concentrate refill attempts had failed to do.

Therefore for Walmart to get Replenish technology to shelf quickly, they empowered us along with private label manufacturer ViJon Inc. to create a new brand in the cleaning aisle called CleanPath that would use the Replenish Refill System. This would allow Walmart to see how consumers liked the technology.

The great news is consumers love the technology and are coming back to buy refills. It’s easy to see the sustainability savings of Replenish but empowering people to take control and save money created so many other new convenience related benefits as well. People discovered they like having more refills at their fingertips or not remembering to buy more bottles at the store to lighter shopping bags or more storage space under the sink.

Innovation creates new benefits and we are excited to see the feedback CleanPath and Replenish is getting across the country in small and big cities alike.

At SustPack 2015, you’ll be presenting on what the future of reuse should look like. Can you give me a preview of what you will be talking about and how Replenish fits into the new platform for concentrates?

Foster: My presentation is going to be mostly interpretative dance with little to no slides. I guess you will have to come check it out and let me know if you think concentrates and reuse is the future of packaging.





Bar Codes and RFID using XML